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Chatham’s World Heritage bid marches on

Date: 21/01/2008           Category: Greenspaces

Progress on the bid for World Heritage Site status for Chatham Dockyard and its defences will be presented at a public meeting at the University of Greenwich’s Medway campus on Wednesday, 30 January. Cllr Rodney Chambers, Leader of Medway Council, will open the meeting, which will take place between 6 and 7.45pm, and will be chaired by Lindsey Morgan, local resident and world heritage expert. Anyone interested in Chatham’s magnificent naval and military heritage is welcome to attend. However, places should be booked by emailing chathamworldheritage@medway.gov.uk, or by phoning 01634 331176. A team of consultants will lead the meeting, which will focus on how to protect and promote Chatham’s World Heritage. Its findings will form an important part of Chatham’s World Heritage application, currently anticipated for 2011. A light buffet and refreshments will be provided from 5.30pm. After the meeting there will be the opportunity to tour the Drill Hall Library, which is open for use by all Medway residents. It is believed to be the longest university library in the world. The proposed World Heritage Site includes the Great Lines, the Historic Dockyard, Fort Amherst, Upnor Castle, Brompton village and barracks and the former naval barracks at Pembroke. The World Heritage Partnership is sponsored by Hamptons International, who are the selling agents for the quays at Chatham Maritime. They are delighted by the exciting blend of heritage celebration and regeneration ambition in Medway. Background: (1) Decisions on which sites will be added to the World Heritage List are made by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It encourages the identification, protection and preservation of outstanding cultural and natural heritage around the world. The list comprises 850 sites in 138 countries. (2) The UK proposes one site each year. The application is prepared locally, but submitted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This year’s application is the Antonine Wall, the northernmost frontier of the Roman empire. Following years are the Pontcysyllte canal aqueduct (2008), Darwin’s House at Downe (2009), and the Anglo-Saxon twin monastery at Wearmouth and Jarrow (2010). The next available application date is January 2011. (3) Medway’s World Heritage Site application is possible thanks to support from the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and English Heritage. (4) For more information, please visit www.chathamworldheritage.co.uk. [ends]