Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (C 1215)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2006
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
October 2013: Joint World Heritage Centre /ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Resumption of mining activities
- Harbour development
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014
A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission visited the property in October 2013 (mission report available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/soc/1970). Subsequently, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 31 January 2014, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/documents. Furthermore, at the request of the State Party, a meeting with representatives from the State Party at national and local levels, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre took place on 11 April 2014 to discuss issues at the property and identify potential ways forward. Key issues of concern include:
- Proposed mining at South Crofty: The mission found that the project could negatively impact the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) given its design, intensity, and scale. It acknowledged substantial efforts made to lower the processing building and to reduce potential impacts on the visual characteristics and the physical environment that shapes this component part of the property. The mission further underscored that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted did not adequately address the relationships between the remaining attributes in this area and the proposed development. Insufficient consideration was given to the views to, and relationships between, attributes of OUV and the location; the area with the most important views of the redevelopment site are almost all located within the property. The State Party reiterated that the proposed scheme had been negotiated with the mine owner and English Heritage over a significant period and that planning permission has been granted. It also noted that mission recommendations will be considered but only where they do not conflict with the existing planning permission. The report notes that the mine owner is currently in administration and it is unlikely that the project will proceed anytime soon.
- Proposed Hayle Harbour Development Project: The mission reiterated the importance of the Port of Hayle for the OUV of the property as a whole, for its role in the import of energy resources and export of mine-produced ore. It concluded mixed-use heritage-led development on the Hayle quays could be accommodated but that the development, as proposed and approved, would constitute a potential danger to the OUV of the property, because of its monolithic scale, design, and materials that are inconsistent with the historic character of the quay. Local and national heritage advisors, and the World Heritage Committee in its decisions of 2012 and 2013, have given similar advice. The State Party reports that the proposal has been consented by the local government and any changes would entail substantial monetary compensation since the developer is unwilling to reconsider the design. Work has already begun on the sluicing infrastructure and on the construction of the supermarket building. It also reports that the local Cornwall Council and the Cornish Mining World Heritage Partnership Board consider the impact is minimal. Although the State Party recognises the negative impact on the OUV, it considers that it would affect only a very small part of the overall property and that negative impacts would need to be balanced with positive aspects such as improved flood defences and repaired harbour infrastructure.
- Callington Road Development Proposal in Tavistock: The project concerns a new housing development on land adjacent to the Tavistock Canal, part of the World Heritage property, while the actual development would be on land outside the boundaries of the property. The mission, echoing advice by the local and national heritage advisors, expressed concern regarding several of the design elements and their impact on the setting. It recommended that negotiations continue to bring the project in line with the OUV of the property and ensure the future conservation of the canal. The State Party indicates that recommendations are useful in continuing dialogue with the developer and that only outline planning consent is currently being considered.
- Development Control Mechanisms: The mission recommended that the process for review and approval of large-scale development projects at the property be reviewed to ensure that projects do not negatively impact the OUV of the property. The State Party notes that both local and national authorities believe that the systems in place for review are sufficient and have led to a well-managed property.
- Other issues: The State Party reports that recent severe weather and flooding have affected parts of the property, although damage is limited, and necessary actions are being implemented.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
It is important to underscore the findings of the mission, which also point out the high level of professionalism and commitment of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Management Office in coordinating actions for the property. However, there are strong challenges in controlling large-scale development proposals, as illustrated by the proposals at South Crofty, Hayle Harbour, and Tavistock. Although there are only three projects out of many that are proposed every year, their implementation can negatively impact the OUV of the property. There is concern that two projects have already been approved while questions about their impact on OUV remain outstanding, and one has already begun construction. This might indicate a need for the State Party to reconsider the process for assessing and approving large-scale development projects at the property.
Regarding proposed mining at South Crofty, it is considered that the design of the ensemble of buildings, particularly the scale and massing of several of the supporting services, may negatively impact on the historic engine houses, which are attributes of the property. There is also concern that views from various points of the property would potentially be disturbed by the current design proposal. While an EIA has been carried out, insufficient attention was paid to the impact on the OUV of the property. It is therefore recommended that a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) be carried out considering attributes of OUV, with particular attention to the views to and relationships between them, to inform necessary design changes.
Concerning the proposed supermarket at Hayle Harbour, it is considered that Hayle Harbour is an integral part for conveying the OUV of the property as a whole and that any development on the South Quay should be compatible with it. It is noted that planning permission was granted notwithstanding the opinion of the State Party’s local and national heritage advisors, and the decisions of the World Heritage Committee in 2012 and 2013, which requested that smaller-scale, heritage-led regeneration be considered. It is considered that the development as currently planned has a scale, massing, and design that are inappropriate for the character and sense of the place and for the understanding of the quay as part of the property. While it is possible to have a supermarket development on the quay, it would require that architects work with an innovative design concept comprising smaller and more articulated structures rather than a typical “big box”-style building. It is also noted that the State Party itself recognises the negative impact on the OUV of the property, although it does not consider it significant enough to warrant placing it on the List of World Heritage in Danger. It is considered that the design as it now stands would have a substantial adverse effect on this component part and therefore on the OUV of the property as a whole. It is therefore of particular concern that construction works on the supermarket structure are already ongoing. In line with all previous recommendations and decisions of the World Heritage Committee and the findings of the recent mission, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee consider immediately placing the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger and request the State Party to immediately halt the already started project on South Quay, and work with the developer to produce an appropriate design and to mitigate impacts that might have potentially been generated by the construction.
In regard to the Callington Road Development Proposal in Tavistock, the mission’s findings should be recalled, in particular that there is a potential to impact the setting of the property, but that the State Party will consider recommendations made in negotiations with the developer.
Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.34
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B;
- Recalling Decisions 36 COM 7B.94 and 37 COM 7B.89, adopted at its 36th (Saint-Petersburg, 2012) and 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) sessions respectively,
- Notes the information provided by the State Party in January 2014;
- Takes note of the recommendations of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property in October 2013 and requests the State Party to give highest priority to the implementation of its recommendations;
- Expresses its concern at the recent flooding at the property caused by severe weather, and also notes the commitment of the State Party to repair resulting damage;
- Encourages the State Party, Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership Board, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Management Office, and the three local councils that constitute the main agencies in the management system of the serial property to develop the necessary assessment and control mechanisms for large-scale development proposals;
- Further notes that mining at South Crofty will most likely not proceed for some time and calls on the State Party to request a design revision for the ensemble of buildings, based on a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage cultural properties, and taking into account the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), with particular consideration of the views to, and relationships between them;
- Strongly regrets that the State Party did not comply with the requests made in Decisions 36 COM 7B.94 and 37 COM 7B.89 to halt the supermarket development project at Hayle Harbour, and calls on the State Party to find more appropriate, heritage-led regeneration options for any development at Hayle Harbour, which may be proposed in future;
- Requests the State Party to invite a joint ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to evaluate the extent of impacts resulting from the implementation of the supermarket project at Hayle Harbour on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and to identify potential courses of action to address and/or mitigate these impacts;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.