CHESTER is bidding for a place alongside the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Giza as a World Heritage Site.
Cheshire West and Chester Council will lead the drive to qualify for inscription on the World Heritage List – only with values that are both ‘outstanding and universal’.
Cllrs Richard Short (culture), Herbert Manley (regeneration) and Neil Ritchie (environment) have been tasked to investigate a bid to the World Heritage Committee.
And next month council, education, private sector, cultural and Civic Trust leaders will meet for initial discussions on the formation of a Chester Heritage Panel and the move to put the walled city on the international tourist map.
Council leader Mike Jones said: “With 2,000 years of rich history, I believe that Chester has all the assets necessary to qualify for this Premier League of historic attractions.
“From the walls, Rows, cathedral and imperial amphitheatre, to some of the earliest council houses in the country – our architectural heritage spans every period from the Romans onwards and is, in part, unique.
“Added to this we have Grosvenor Park, St John’s and the Old Dee Bridge, to complement our marvellous riverside area. “
Restoration of the Walls, amphitheatre and town hall, plus the recently announced plans to transform city’s Cathedral Quarter are all part of the council’s drive to put Chester back where it belongs as an international visitor centre.
It is anticipated that the panel will explore all the ramifications of becoming a World Heritage Site; oversee the bid to its conclusion and, if successful, take over the implementation of its management plan.
Visits to Edinburgh – a World Heritage site since 1995 – have highlighted the benefits of the WHS accolade which affects every aspect of the Scottish capital’s architecture, monuments and culture.
If a Chester bid was to be successful it is believed that the city’s new status would not only help boost the local economy but also attract funding to help preserve and promote every aspect of its heritage.
And it is also hoped that inscription would create job opportunities for apprentices to train in conservations skills.
Cllr Short said: “It is frequently said that Chester’s future lies in its past. We must protect and enhance our inheritance for the good of future generations.
“We want to involve everyone who has a stake in that future, the public and private sectors, major landlords and even the individual owners of period properties.”
And he added: “We are aiming for the top and there is a lot of work to be done.
“If we succeed, it will put Chester alongside some of the world’s iconic landmarks like The Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Giza.”
In the UK, World Heritage Sites include Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City, The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, The City of Bath and Durham Castle and Cathedral.”