City’s World Heritage Site fight goes on despite axe

St Peter's Church
St Peter's Church
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A WORLD Heritage bid for the twin monastic site of Wearmouth-Jarrow is not over, despite the application being withdrawn.

The case to give the site official status was pulled yesterday after the Echo revealed it had been recommended for refusal by a team of experts.

For the past six years, considerable time and money has been spent trying to secure a nomination that would see the churches of St Peter’s in Sunderland and St Paul’s in Jarrow join the likes of Durham Cathedral and Hadrian’s Wall as World Heritage sites.

But yesterday, the Wearmouth-Jarrow Partnership, along with Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and English Heritage, announced it had withdrawn its nomination.

It follows feedback from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos), which evaluates nominations.

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The organisation claimed the bid failed to show the full intellectual significance of the work of the Venerable Bede and the historic relevance of the sites.

Experts also said the ruins at each location are not peak examples of such remains, which have been conserved across Northern Europe.

However, campaigners today said they still believe the World Heritage Status can be secured in the future.

Rt Rev Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow and chairman of the partnership, said: “We are very disappointed by the ICOMOS evaluation of the Wearmouth- Jarrow nomination and have a number of concerns about the report which we will be raising with ICOMOS and UNESCO.

“We will examine the report further to identify what the key areas of concern are and consider carefully next steps.

“We feel that Wearmouth-Jarrow has a strong case for World Heritage Site Status and deserves international recognition.

“There has been a huge amount of public support for the bid, locally, nationally and internationally.

“The organisations which make up the Wearmouth-Jarrow Partnership have worked together extremely well to conserve, promote and improve the twin monastery.

“ICOMOS commented on the quality of the management plan, and recognised the effort and commitment of the partnership in producing it.

“We will continue to work together to ensure this special site is preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

Organisations included in the bid are the parishes of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, Bede’s World, the Diocese of Durham, Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils, Sunderland’s university and its National Glass Centre, along with those in Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, English Heritage, ICOMOS-UK and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham