It has been confirmed that the Government has now formally submitted the bid to UNESCO for the Lake District to be considered for World Heritage Status in the category of “cultural landscapes”.
In submitting the bid, the Heritage Minister, David Evennett described the Lake District as “undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and important landscapes in the UK”
The bid aims to demonstrate how the landscape is a living example of a cultural landscape, shaped over thousands of years by the people who live, work and farm in the Lake District as well as its millions of visitors.
It also emphasises the area’s wider cultural significance in inspiring the Romantic poets and as the birthplace of the global heritage movement, including the early formation of the National Trust.
The bid will be considered in detail by UNESCO over the next 12-18 months with a final decision expected in summer 2017.
So what would World Heritage Status mean for people living in the area? Two of the main concerns have been about the potential for overcrowding as a result of increased visitor numbers, and also the prospect of additional planning restrictions.
Although bringing additional visitors to the area is not a specific aim of the bid, it is acknowledged that it is likely to make a wider international audience aware of the Lake District’s cultural landscape and could be useful in attracting higher spending, longer staying tourists who make a significant contribution to the local economy
In term of planning controls, World Heritage Sites in the UK are protected by planning regulations which are actually less stringent than those of a National Park so the existing planning regulations will protect the Lake District. However World Heritage Sites do currently attract a very small number of restrictions to permitted development rights that do not already apply in national parks. These additional restrictions are confined to domestic developments of solar panels, stand-alone solar systems and flues for biomass or combined heat and power systems.
Should the bid be successful it will be the fourth site in the NW England & North Wales region with World Heritage recognition alongside Liverpool Waterfront, Beaumaris & Harlech Castles and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Further afield it will join more well know names such as Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, Galapagos Islands and the Taj Mahal.
If you are interesting in buying a home or holiday home in the Lake District, please phone us on 0330 223 6339.