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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 August 2005, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Decision on Lakes' heritage plea
Wray Castle
The meeting will be held at Wray Castle in October
An historic meeting will take place later this year to decide whether the Lake District should continue efforts to gain World Heritage status.

The Lake District National Park Authority has been trying since 1985 to win United Nations approval.

Now a final meeting of interested parties dubbed a "make your mind up" event is to be held at Wray castle on the banks of Windermere.

The authority claims it will cost 350,000 to fund an application.

An authority spokesman said: "Invitations to attend the make your mind up meeting on 14 October will be sent out soon to interested organisations who have already expressed views on the issue.

"The Lord Clark of Windermere has agreed to act as chairman for the day."

Financial support

In May, members of the authority agreed it was time to make a final decision on the World Heritage bid, which was first suggested more than 20 years ago.

But with the cost of just completing an initial application put at nearly 350,000, the authority said it could not process the application alone.

It now wants to see how many other organisations in the region will offer financial support.

The government can only approach the United Nations with two completed nominations a year and the earliest current unallocated slot is 2008.

A report from National Park officer Paul Tiplady said World Heritage Status should not be seen as a marketing opportunity, although he accepted it could in itself bring in some "niche tourism opportunities".

He said the cultural landscape and how the Lake District had influenced the world would be a key element of how any World Heritage application would be judged.

He added: "I believe that the Lake District is worthy of World Heritage inscription and that the region would derive considerable benefits.

"We should make one last attempt to complete the work started in 1985. But we must do this in partnership and with widespread support."

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