Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 11:28 UK

World Heritage village in danger

New Lanark
The New Lanark Trust has warned that vital repair work is being delayed

Senior figures at the New Lanark World Heritage site have warned that a funding crisis could mean the village is re-classed as a "site in danger".

The 18th century cotton mill village is one of five Unesco World Heritage sites in Scotland.

But the charitable trust that owns it has warned that a lack of cash is delaying vital restoration work.

South of Scotland MSP Aileen Campbell has secured a meeting with the culture minister to discuss the issue.

The chairman of New Lanark Trust, Arthur Bell, expressed concerns that the current economic turmoil was impacting heavily on Scotland's rural historic sites.

He said: "Centuries old walls have a habit of falling. Roof leaks and rots develop. Heating and lighting costs rocket. Car parks need resurfaced. Rooms need refurbished.

"All this before you start marketing - trying to attract your share of a diminishing market."

He revealed the Trust had recently been refused a critical National Heritage Lottery Grant which would have been used to stop a crumbling wall collapsing.

"Unesco could now reclassify us as a World Heritage Site in Danger," he added.

Events like the Year of Homecoming will provide a much-needed boost to tourist attractions across the region, but there will always be certain cases which need extra support
Aileen Campbell MSP
"Not good news for the Scottish government, nor a 'sexy message' to attract visitors. Pictures would be shown around the world as the historic village slides (or crashes) into the River Clyde."

New Lanark was created as a cotton-spinning village in the late 18th to early 19th century and was transformed under the management of Robert Owen.

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani has agreed to meet Ms Campbell to discuss the challenges facing the site.

The MSP said: "Events like the Year of Homecoming will provide a much-needed boost to tourist attractions across the region, but there will always be certain cases which need extra support.

"The UK Government's Post Office closure programme will directly hit trade at New Lanark, at a time when the site needs all the trade it can get.

She added: "I have also recently called for the UK Government to reduce or remove the VAT charged on repair work to historic buildings. Such a move could make repairs and renovations much more feasible at sites like New Lanark."




SEE ALSO
Post Office to close 43 branches
23 Sep 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
New Clydesdale festival announced
18 Apr 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Clyde woodlands expansion plans
07 Sep 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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