Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Ideas are put forward at meeting on how Sataire could retain Unesco title
The future of Saltaire and how best to promote its prestigious World Heritage Site status could be inspired by the success of a Welsh industrial town.
Yesterday, around 50 people gathered at Victoria Hall to discuss how to make the most of Saltaire’s heritage title, which it was granted in 2001, as part of a new management plan for Saltaire – something Unesco requires every decade.
They were addressed by John Rodger MBE, from Blaenavon in South Wales, which has just celebrated ten years as a World Heritage site, during which time it has attracted more than £40 million funding, improved buildings and trade and more than doubled visitor numbers.
World Heritage Sites must be of outstanding universal value and examples across the world include the Great Barrier Reef and The Great Wall of China, but Bradford Council Heritage Champion Councillor Val Slater, who also chairs the Saltaire Steering Group, said not enough was being done to promote the site locally.
“It’s something unique that people are envious of, but actually, I think there will be an awful lot of people, some that visit, some that live in Saltaire, that don’t know we’re a World Heritage Site. I feel we’ve not used that status to the best potential,” Coun Slater said.
“To become a World Heritage Site, you’ve got to have a unique story. Ten or 12 years ago we convinced Unesco we had a good story, but I think it’s drifted away.”
She wanted input from the 50 or so people there yesterday to shape the management plan, which should be completed within a year.
Mr Rodger told the meeting, which included representatives from organisations across Saltaire, that the key to Blaenavon’s successful plan was keeping things focused.
“Our vision was much more pragmatic – it was what did we want to do, who did we want to do it and how were we going to do it,” he said.
He said the town’s initial management plan was about working with official partners, whereas its second was more about getting the whole community involved.
Following his talk, Saltaire’s World Heritage Site officer Helen Thornton explained how workshops would run to encourage idea sharing.
Chairman of Saltaire Festival Gideon Seymour said: “One of the issues is around identity and we faced this when designing the new festival logo. Everybody starts and finishes at the (Salts) Mill and we kind of need to move away from it, if all people think about when they think of Saltaire is the mill. That’s not all it’s about.”
Andrew Brown, from Sustainable Saltaire, was one of several people who said it was vital to promote all of Saltaire.
“The heritage site is only part of its identity. There’s the (Shipley) Glen and walks, there’s all sorts that happens outside the site.”
Shipley Green councillor Hawarun Hussain said people needed to think positively and celebrate the good happening in the area, rather than focusing on the negatives.
Jane Russell from Saltaire Inspired added: “We want to turn Saltaire into an internationally-recognised centre for culture and visual arts and architecture.”
People were also asked to suggest ‘big ideas’ for Saltaire, which included:
- strong branding and a logo for Saltaire
- a major hotel
- banning cars
- public ownership of Salts Mill
- a World Heritage visitor centre
- a park and ride
- coach parking.
Coun Slater said all ideas would be looked at when forming the new plan and vision statement for Saltaire.
“We want to make both Saltaire and Bradford better for people that live, that visit and work here and we obviously need something to make that happen,” she said.
“For me it needs to be a living document – an outline of where we want to go in the long term, but taking steps long the way and refreshing it. Some of the ideas are longer term – we’ve got to take some and revise them and make them work.”
Comments are closed on this article.