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 https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://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; January 2015: Joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Resumption of mining activities
- Inappropriate developments (particularly a new supermarket built at Hayle Harbour)
- Potential impact of new development projects
- Management and institutional factors / Improvements to the planning tools and approval processes not yet completed and implemented
- Social/cultural uses of heritage
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019
On 30 November 2018, the State Party submitted a report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1215/documents/, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of Decision 41 COM 7B.54, providing the following information:
- The Supplementary Planning Document (2016) has been adopted by all three Local Planning Authorities (in May 2017). The Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is reported to be protected through the Management Plan policies, the Local Plans and the National Planning Policy Framework;
- Statutory timeframe for the adoption of local plans did not allow an opportunity for review by the World Heritage Centre (WHC) and the Advisory Body ICOMOS;
- Developments in the Port of Hayle:
- The design principles for the South Quay project (Phase 2) of 2015 were modified after lengthy and iterative discussions with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, and a revised version of the project was approved in 2018,
- The North Quay project is being revised in view of the proposed design’s potential threat to the authenticity and integrity of the property, following an outline planning permission, and in response to concerns expressed by Historic England and through multiple phases of Technical Review by ICOMOS;
- Development in the St Agnes Mining District: an application for conversion of the Engine House to domestic dwelling at Wheal Friendly, St Agnes was sent to the WHC by a third party, and was transmitted to the State Party according to Paragraph 174 of the Operational Guidelines. The State Party confirmed that the application is in place, and ICOMOS has provided a Technical Review;
- Development in the Tamar Valley Mining District: outline planning permission was granted for the construction of 750 dwellings at Callington Road, Tavistock, and a reserved matters application was submitted for two other dwelling projects for 157 and 241 units. Both projects are reported to be outside the boundaries of the property, within its setting, with no adverse impact assessed for its OUV. Historic England and the World Heritage Office has been consulted on the applications;
- South Crofty Mine: the new site operator, Strongbow Explorations Incorporated (SEI), is seeking ways to reduce the visual impacts of the mine, including that of the Mill building. An updated archaeological report has been produced.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Despite the reported progress in improving planning tools and their implementation, the processes to avoid potential negative impact on the OUV of the property from proposed projects remains inadequate. Following the recognition of negative impacts on OUV caused by the completed supermarket project in Hayle Harbour, the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS were requested to assist and advise the State Party in revising and mitigating potential harmful design elements for a number of project applications throughout the period since the last state of conservation reporting. Four Technical Reviews and teleconferences were provided for revising the application design for the South Quay project (Phase 2). Two Technical Review documents were produced so far, with comments and recommendations, for the North Quay mixed use development project, and the State Party has requested further assistance. In both cases, the Secretariat and ICOMOS were asked to consider voluminous complex documentation, within the very tight timeframes of the local statutory processes.
Concerning the North Quay project, the latest revised proposal represented an improvement on the outline planning permission, but does not yet adequately address the potential negative impact of the proposed design on the OUV of the property, and therefore, further revision is needed.
ICOMOS has also assessed the Wheal Friendly Engine House application and advised that the conversion of a listed industrial monument to domestic use raises concerns, such that the proposal should not proceed in its original form. Information has not been provided by the State Party, on how the recommendations were taken into account, even after several requests by the World Heritage Centre. Third parties have reported the approval of this application.
The State Party has not complied fully with the requests expressed by the Committee in Decision 41 COM 7B.54, such that the current statutory timeframe for planning applications at the national level and process for adopting strategic local planning tools, do not accommodate the inputs from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in accordance with the Operational Guidelines. In this respect, the planning system remains inadequate, the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has not proven to be a suitable tool for guiding decisions, and the role of the World Heritage Site Planning Advise Officer in providing advice related to planning applications still needs to be strengthened.
Concerning the South Crofty Mine, the efforts of SEI to explore ways to comply with Committee Decisions, including the reduction of negative visual impacts of the mine, are welcome. It is nevertheless regrettable that the updated archaeological report has not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre as requested by the Decision 41 COM 7B.54, and that information has not been provided about details of the boundary treatment and planning.
Current planning tools, policy documents, approval processes and consultation timeframes do not sustain the protection of the OUV of the property. The State Party has not fully complied with previous Committee Decisions by providing opportunity for reviewing planning tool documents by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies before their adoption. Consequently, in view of the ascertained danger to the property's OUV, it is therefore recommended that the Committee request the State Party to take urgent action for the implementation of the recommendations of past Committee Decisions, and that it considers, in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of these recommendations, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its next session in 2020, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines.
Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.93
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.54, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
- Takes note of some progress of the State Party in making efforts to improve the planning tools and their implementation, in line with the previous Committee Decision 41 COM 7B.54, but notes with concern that the steps undertaken are insufficient to ensure that there are no adverse impacts on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
- Urges the State Party to revise the current approval processes, planning tools and planning policy documents, including the Management Plan of the property, and requests the State Party to establish stronger protection tools and improve the associated planning processes;
- Acknowledges that the State Party has consulted the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS regarding the application of the South Quay project (Phase 2), and the proposed North Quay project in order to reduce and mitigate the potential negative impact of the proposed design on the OUV of the property, but expresses concern at the timeframes imposed by local statutory processes and that there is a need for such detailed and iterative consultation process because of inadequate planning tools and policies;
- Also requests the State Party to implement the recommendations of ICOMOS related to the North Quay project and ensure the further revision of the proposed design plans, in order to avoid the identified potential negative impacts of the project application on the OUV of the property;
- Also acknowledges the efforts of the operator Strongbow Explorations Incorporated in South Crofty Mine, for reducing the negative visual impacts of the mine, but nevertheless, regrets that the State Party has not complied with the request in Decision 41 COM 7B.54 to submit to the World Heritage Centre the updated archaeological report as well as details of the boundary treatment and planning;
- Also regrets that the planning application for the conversion of the Engine House at Wheal Friendly, St Agnes, was not submitted by the State Party to the World Heritage Centre in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and also notes with concern the lack of sufficient communication from the State Party with regard to:
- Explaining the reasons and justifying the design for the conversion of a listed industrial monument to domestic use,
- Following up on how the provided expert advice was taken into account,
- Issueing of the project approval;
- Further requests the State Party to continue to ensure that, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, details for any new development which may affect the OUV of the property be submitted, together with respective Heritage Impact Assessments, to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before final decisions are taken;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and on the steps taken to implement the above, especially the proposed improvements to the planning tools and approval processes, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020, with a view to considering, in the absence of significant progress in the implementation of these recommendations, and in the case of confirmation of the ascertained danger to OUV, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.