Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 16:58 UK

Bath keeps world heritage status

Somerset Place, Bath
Bath's Georgian crescents are often used as film locations

The UN has decided that Bath should keep its World Heritage Site status, despite concern about new buildings.

A team from the UN's cultural body Unesco inspected the city, famed for its Roman heritage and Georgian architecture, last November.

On Thursday, Unesco decided that the Western Riverside development did not harm Bath's historic centre.

Councillor Francine Haeberling, of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said Unesco's report was "very positive".

"The report reflects very positively on the efforts made by English Heritage, Bath Preservation Trust and the council before and during the November visit.

"The council takes its guardianship of the World Heritage Site seriously and regards it as an inspiration to the city's future," she added.

Great Barrier Reef

Bath is the only entire British city to have been awarded World Heritage Site status.

It puts the city in the same category of international importance as the Great Pyramids at Giza in Egypt and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Unesco said the historic sites of Bath were "very well managed" and its major buildings are in a "very good state of conservation and closely monitored".

New development plans: view of Victoria Bridge
The Western Riverside area has been derelict for years

The Western Riverside development is a 118-acre site next to the city centre that will include housing, shops and office space.

The Bath Preservation Trust (BPT) has expressed its concern at the scheme, which includes nine-storey buildings.

Unesco's report gave the first phase of the development a clean bill of health in terms of how it affects the historic heart of Bath and made recommendations about the projects later phases.

BPT chief executive Carol Kay said: "We agree with the UNESCO Committee that the second and third phases of Western Riverside should be reviewed and include revised densities and volumes of buildings."

Bath and North East Somerset Council say they will respond positively to the inspectors' points.



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