Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Unesco meet Seville

The World Heritage Committee is currently meeting for its 33rd session in Seville, Spain from 22-30 June. During the session, the Committee will consider requests for the inscription of new sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List and examine the state of conservation of sites already inscribed on the List. The Committee is chaired by H. E. Mrs María Jesús San Segundo, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO.

The World Heritage Committee consists of representatives from 21 of the States Parties to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention.

Remember this headline from earlier this month....

Unesco insists Capital must scrap £300m Caltongate scheme

in The Scotsman from the piece -

"A £300 MILLION development in Edinburgh's historic Old Town has been thrown deeper into chaos after Unesco inspectors demanded council leaders have the whole scheme returned to the drawing board.

Councillors are set to face international condemnation at a world heritage summit in Seville next month after a damning report urged wholescale changes be made to the Caltongate scheme – even though it has received final approval from the Scottish Government."

" Leaked documents obtained by The Scotsman reveal that heritage inspectors are demanding a reprieve for two listed buildings threatened with demolition, the scrapping of a modern building which would have blocked views from Jeffrey Street, and a full review of how the development would impact on views from Calton Hill."

"The council is expected to face a major dilemma over the future of the site if Unesco's world heritage committee approves the report's recommendations, as expected. The local authority has had two other major developments called in for public inquiries within the past few months, as well as having to deal with a Unesco investigation triggered last summer."

Remember this after the Unesco delegation visit Unesco slam city on Caltongate

UNESCO yesterday criticised Edinburgh council's handling of the Caltongate development and said the demolition of two listed buildings could have been avoided, The Scotsman can reveal.

Its European heritage chief, Dr Mechtild Rössler, condemned the council for allowing the London developer Mountgrange to draw up the initial blueprint for the huge Old Town site, by Waverley Station."

"Jim Lowrie, Edinburgh city council's planning leader, admitted the local authority could be left in a "tricky position" if the council's handling of Mountgrange was strongly criticised and asked for a response."

"However, Mountgrange has launched an attack on Unesco, the world heritage body, branding it an "irrelevance" and saying it is not interested in its views on the £300 million development." (did he really say that?)

The firm said it has no intention of postponing the start of work until after next summer's World Heritage summit, in Seville, discusses Edinburgh.
A spokesman Mark Cummings of Never Beaten PR said a "dangerous precedent" would be set if a major developer had to wait until Unesco had delivered its judgment, and insisted that Mountgrange had no intention of changing its scheme, even if key criticisms were made by Unesco." Mountgrange in administration

They will be discussing Edinburgh either tomorrow or Thursday.