Wearmouth-Jarrow world heritage bid put back by a year
THE bid for what would be the North East's third world heritage site has been put back by a year.
The bid for the twin Anglo-Saxon monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, originally scheduled for submission in February 2010, will now be submitted in February 2011.
The decision to defer has been backed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which works with candidate sites on the nomination process.
Wearmouth-Jarrow has been a candidate world heritage site since 2006 and a wide-ranging partnership has been working towards the production of a nomination document and management plan to be submitted to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) by the UK Government.
Rt Rev Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow and chairman of the Wearmouth-Jarrow Partnership said last night: “We were given the opportunity by the DCMS to delay on the basis that what is already a strong bid could be even better.
“This is a highly competitive field and you can always do better. It’s double belts and braces.
“We have had colossal support from across the North East and we owe it to people to put in the best possible bid.
“In recent months we have been overwhelmed with the support of people from the region and further afield, and we now have time to further improve our submission documents, which will give Wearmouth-Jarrow the best possible chance for a successful inscription.”
The extra year will also allow work funded by One North East to improve signage and interpretation at both the Jarrow and Sunderland sites to be carried out, further strengthening the bid.
The site will now be the UK’s nomination for world heritage site status in 2011.
Extensive public consultation took place earlier this year, when people were given the opportunity to have their say on the site and its future.
A total of 8,194 responses were received with 96% of people supporting the nomination and the proposals to protect and preserve the site for future generations to enjoy.
“Every pledge and signature of support which the public have made still counts and we are still gathering this vital support,” said the bishop.
Wearmouth-Jarrow, which centres on St Peter’s Church in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland and St Paul’s Church in Jarrow, was a major international centre of learning and culture in the 7th and 8th Centuries. Parts of the 7th century buildings still stand on both sites and it was home of Bede, one of the most influential figures in contemporary culture.