Tuesday, 4 November 2008

A Lesson in World Heritage Status

Its time to swot up, as the UNESCO DELEGATION is visiting the capital next Thursday and Friday....
see www.eh8.org.uk for more details on visit.
The UK Government has signed the World Heritage Convention.

The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) recommends potential World Heritage Sites to the World Heritage Committee via the World Heritage Centre.

WH Committee oversees nominations and state of sites, WH Centre is its body

The UK Government is a state party having signed the WH convention, DCMS being the relevant body.

Historic Scotland (on behalf of the Scottish Government) reports to DCMS which reports to the World Heritage Committee

Scottish Government Reports on Caltongate make interesting reading.

It becomes clear from reading them, what role Historic Scotland has played - the reports keep citing Historic Scotland as the government's advisers 'not objecting' and saying that the development will not affect World Heritage status - well, they know differently now.

The report also states -"Historic Scotland had also sought to ensure there was a clear economic case to justify the demolition of the Canongate Venture building, which was in reasonable condition. Independent assessment of that business case commissioned by Historic Scotland, has agreed that the loss of that listed building is justified by the public benefit arising from the development. Following the revisions to the plans which have addressed their concerns, Historic Scotland consider the scheme to be acceptable."

The reports also say several times there are no issues of 'national importance' which indicates that the government planners don't know the role of the 'state party' in the World Heritage legislation.

and the Royal Park Terrace and Spring Gardens Residents' Association
are amongst those who have criticised the proposals due to these impacts"
Gosh thats not many then??

That same report goes on to say
" Architecture and Design Scotland while not commenting on the building designs in detail, commended the mixed use approach of the development and made suggestions on materials and design approach. • Scottish Enterprise and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce support the development."

"The pro-active role of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in promoting the development Caltongate Developer Manish Chande is head of the Chamber`s property portfolio group and in the past in The Evening News Ron Hewitt of Chambers Roots For Caltongate "

Also they say in one letter that the pend to the hotel is at ground level only -though the latest scheme took the opening up into the first floor?

It is obvious that everyone has a lot of revision to do, and probably should admit their mistakes and get together around a table and sort out the mess.

Edinburgh and her World Class Heritage should be seen as the Jewel in her crown and the everlasting key to economic success for the city, not as an albatross around her neck, as her own council, Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government appear to believe.

Or it could become the sad story to tell our grandchildren of how we killed

the goose that laid the golden egg.