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World Heritage Convention

Decision 39 COM 7B.87
Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (C 426bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decisions 37 COM 7B.90 and 38 COM 7B.36, adopted at its 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 38th (Doha, 2014) sessions respectively,
  3. Takes note of the State Party’s efforts to strengthen the policy and planning framework through guidance documents, but notes nevertheless that there still appears to be an inadequate urban planning framework to manage development in the setting of the property, with the result that development that has been approved contrary to the advice of English Heritage is beginning to have a cumulative negative impact;
  4. Deeply regretsthat the State Party did not comply with the requests made in Decision 38 COM 7B.36 to ensure that the Nine Elms Regeneration Development Market Towers, Vauxhall Cross and Vauxhall Island Site projects be revised, and notes with concern that they are currently under construction, without the project having been reconsidered after concerns had been raised by English Heritage;
  5. Also notes with serious concern that no reconsideration has been made on the Elizabeth House development scheme concerning its design and size and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed on the development of the project;
  6. Further notes that the lack of an urban planning framework brings the need to appraise individual projects and also requests the State Party to ensure that, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, any larger-scale projects which may be proposed in the future in the immediate and wider setting of the World Heritage property be submitted to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, before any decision is taken;
  7. Also takes notes that major conservation works are planned for the Palace of Westminster and further requests the State Party to submit, to the World Heritage Centre for review, details as soon as these are available, based on the outcomes of a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in conformity with ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for World Heritage cultural properties;
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to finalize the review of the Management Plan for the property as soon as possible;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to invite a joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to evaluate the extent of impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property resulting from the implementation of the above-mentioned projects and other current planning applications, and to identify potential courses of action to address ways of strengthening the protection of the property, including through improved planning frameworks and management structures;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, 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 41st session in 2017.
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015)
Context of Decision