On 1 February 2010 the State Party submitted a detailed report that addressed issues relating to the demolition of the Pont de Pertuis, the proposed Bacalan-Bastide bridge, the re-development of the College Cassinol and the overall planning regulations for the property.
a) Demolition of the Pont de Pertuis
In order to bring the standard of documentation for the Bassins à flots area, within which the Pont de Pertuis used to exist, the State Party reports that the city has agreed to unify inventories of the area produced since 1997 and to produce a summary document and a systematic survey of the port areas. The inventory of trading houses, warehouses and cellars related to the wine trade will be pursued and should be completed in 2011.
With regards to pont du Pertuis, the restoration of the canal to its original dimensions the report states that this is being considered alongside the whole development of the dock area including its water bodies. This will be a long-term plan. The City and the Urban Community of Bordeaux set as an objective the restoration of the canal to its original width from 2020, under the Urban Plan Bordeaux 2030.
b) Planning Regulations
With regards to the concerns expressed by the World Heritage Committee to ensure that the Bassins à flots area to the north of the property was covered by adequate protection and planning regulations, the State Party reports that for the overall property a Local UNESCO Bordeaux Committee, consisting of heritage experts was established in January 2009 to review planning applications that might impact on the property. It meets monthly. Although this Committee has no statutory powers, its recommendations have been accepted by the planning authorities. The State Party states that the City and Urban Community of Bordeaux will rely on the expertise of this Local Committee for all major restorations or new constructions which may impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
In terms of the specific planning of the Bassins à flots, the State Party reports that it is proposed to develop this area as a model of sustainable development. The area covers 154ha of former dock areas that extends up the Garonne River and includes the approach to the proposed Bacalan-Bastide Bridge on the left bank and the remains of industrial activities. The State Party reports that regular meetings have been held with stakeholders for the overall planning approach. There will be no high-rise building and no underground development. The preliminary studies are planned to be completed by the end of 2010. Following these studies, the development plan will be integrated with the Plan Local d'Urbanisme. Thus, the area will become fully integrated into the urban policy of the city.
The State Party also reports on further urban regeneration and re-development plans in other areas within the property and the buffer zone. These include Berge du Lac, Bastide-Brazza, Niel Bastide, Benauge-Deschamps and the Belcier Paludate sectors. All the proposed developments are structured in a similar way and involve the creation of inventories of the industrial and other buildings and public consultation on the way forward. These schemes are said to be leading to a change of focus on brownfield sites that will allow buildings to be retained for their intrinsic interest and also their memories. An example is Neil barracks which instead of being demolished are now to the focus of re-development and restoration.
The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS note the new structures for working upstream on the master plans for development areas, and the formation of the local expert Committee to oversee the development of the property. They consider that the overall plans for the development areas should be submitted at an early stage for assessment of their impact on the Outstanding Universal Value according to paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.
c) Proposed Bacalan-Bastide bridge
The State Party report recalls the various impact assessments carried out for this proposed bridge and highlights that it is the essential pre-requisite for the development of the right bank and for the sustainable development of the whole city. In ten years time it is forecast that the creation of the bridge will save, in terms of time, more than 5 million hours for people working in the city and, more than 29 million km each year, reducing the production of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
In terms of mitigating its visual impact, as requested by the Committee at its 33rd session, the State Party reports on further changes made to the design of the bridge Theses relate to expanding the public space on deck to reinforce the urban links on both sides of the river, and to viewing the design of the towers so that they better reflect the classicism of Bordeaux architecture. The height of the towers has been reduced from 83 to 77 metres, their profile reduced to 9,56 m x 5,30 m, instead of 10.96 m x 5,30 m, a reduction of almost 15%, and their upper ‘bevel’ has been reversed. These changes were approved in July 2009. Further landscaping changes include the colour of the concrete, suppression of elevated promontories, a revised lighting design and re-design of the control building on the right bank. The State Party is committed to further reduce the visual impact of the bridge on the historic centre mainly by creating a screen plant with high trees on the right bank of the river.
The visual impacts have been considered from the left bank where a 4.5 km promenade has been established along the river since the closure of the docks. Visual impact studies have shown that the towers will not be visible from the historic centre of the city – unless one mounts to the very top of the spire of Saint Michel. As a pedestrian moves north along the promenade, the bridge starts to become visible at Place des Quinconces.Quinconces. Continuing north, the bridge is fully visible at the Chartrons district, the heart of the former dock area, where it is seen with the silos of the Grands Moulins de Paris.
On the issue of large cruise ships having access to the city centre, the State Party points out that this is a separate issue, unrelated to the bridge project because this transit is already possible, in the absence of the bridge. The current operation is governed by an agreement between the City, the Urban Community and the port authorities.Grand Port Maritime de Bordeaux. In this framework, local authorities have banned access to cruise ships located upstream of the Place des Quinconces, and limited to two the number of vessels allowed at the same time on the Quai Louis XVIII (the berth for cruise ships in the city centre). However, the realisation of the future bridge is said to provide an opportunity to question this management and it is now being suggested that access should be prohibited to the centre for very large cruise ships, and for large vessels over 250 meters long, and be limited for medium sized vessels, and that berthing arrangements should be facilitated downstream from the site of the proposed Bacalan-Bastide bridge. Only tall ships and historic vessels should berth in the upstream sector of the Quai des Quinconces.
d) College Cassinol
The State Party reports that the demolition of the college has been stopped and the facade of the old winery has been saved and maintained in situ. A new development programme is being planned, details of which, when completed, will be forwarded to World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS.
The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS note the detailed arrangements for managing planning in the property, including the expert panel that oversees all interventions that might impact adversely on the outstanding universal value of the property. They note the consultative process for defining the development of the Bassins à flots area and welcome the approach to retain industrial structures, to limit the height of new development and to restrict underground interventions. A similar consultative approach to development envisaged for the outer areas of the city should allow for overall development plans to be agreed in outline at a formative stage and they suggests that it would be helpful if these could be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS at an early stage before an overall concept has been agreed.
For the proposed Bacalan-Bastide bridge, the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS welcome the proposed modifications and consider that the final plans should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS. They recommend that the authorities pursue their on-going studies for the additional reduction of the visual impact of the bridge. They also welcome the plan for regulating ships coming up-river to the centre of the city.
The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS note that a long-term commitment has been made to enlarge the canal under the re-built Pertuis bridge back to its original width and to submit to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS the modified proposals for the development of the Cassignol warehouse.