Decision on World Heritage Site for JBO later this week

Journey to Baku (……& the World Heritage Committee)

JBO’s Professor Teresa Anderson:

“Early in July this year, we are off to Baku to attend the 2019 World Heritage Committee meeting – because this year, in July, in Baku, the World Heritage Committee will formally consider the nomination of Jodrell Bank for inscription on the World Heritage list.

Photo credit: Ant Holloway

It’s a journey of 2, 500 miles, but will seem short to us, given that we have spent almost 10 years working towards this point.

The first step on the journey was the application, in 2010, for Jodrell Bank Observatory to be included on the UK’s national shortlist for World Heritage site nomination (known as the ‘Tentative List’).

To our delight, in 2011 the application was successful, despite the fact that it was our first engagement with the World Heritage themes and processes.

In the UK, the government (via the Department of Culture, Media, Sport and Digital – DCMS) regularly assesses whether any of the sites on the shortlistare ready to go forward for ‘Nomination’ to UNESCO. In order to be considered, sites have to submit a ‘Technical Assessment’ to the UK’s Assessment Panel. We have done this three times since 2010, and as we went through the process, we learned more and more, not only about the application process, but also about the history and heritage of Jodrell Bank. New images and stories appeared, as well as more and more information about the site itself.

Finally, we were very pleased to hear, in the summer of 2017, that we had been successful and that Jodrell Bank had been selected by the Assessment Panel as the UK’s next candidate for nomination to UNESCO.

The more challenging thing to hear, at this point, was that DCMS and Historic England had decided that the application should be submitted in January 2018, so that the case could be considered in July 2019.

That meant that we had less than 6 months to prepare the huge Nomination Dossier that is required, which includes Comparative Studies of similar sites worldwide, the development of a full Management Plan in collaboration with everyone connected to the site, and the writing of the main nomination document itself.

Six months of very hard work followed. We spent every weekend and evening working on it (thankfully we are married to each other, so were both in the same house). We let ourselves take a day off on Christmas Day and on New Year’s day, but otherwise just worked solidly, (around our dining table…) until we got it done.

We had help from a few lovely people on the way (thank you Henry, Christopher, Karl and Enid) and managed to get our Nomination Dossierfinished and beautifully designed (thank you David) and printed in time for the deadline.

A long process of independent assessment followed – including academic reviews of all the documents we prepared by ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), a site visit by an ICOMOS inspector and an interview with an ICOMOS Expert Panel.

And now we are off to Baku …. to find out what they all thought!

Wish us luck!”

Teresa Anderson & Tim O’Brien

Sand Quarry approved by Cheshire West

Plans for the Sibelco sand quarry on land at Rudheath Lodge, New Platt Lane were approved today by Cheshire West & Chester. The proposal had previously been approved on April 4th by Cheshire East’s strategic planning board.   (new info from the Environment Agency wasn’t discussed at the meeting but if the EA change their original ‘no objection’ then it will be referred back to planning).

Cheshire East are to meet again to review the new documents but it seems doubtful that they are allowed to alter their original vote.

and 17/03104/MIN Cheshire West and Chester)

Amongst others Goostrey’s Cllr Ken Morris spoke against the application over concerns about fugitive silica dust as well as pointing out that the stated Condition by Jodrell Bank Observatory for the site to not exceed the ITU threshold cannot possibly be enforced.  Especially when Sibelco say the site already exceeds it (before driver’s mobiles etc).  JBO have been given a draft scheme by Sibelco and will have to sign off on it before plans can go ahead.

In regard to water levels of nearby New Platt Mere dropping; CWaC stated that work would stop if water levels dropped to a certain level, and only resume once they had risen again.

Sand Quarry 8th Jan

Decision date 8th Jan


Sand Quarry comments extended due to new documents

Although CEC’s Strategic Planning Board voted earlier this year to approve the part of Sibelco’s planning application which is in Cheshire East, the decision has not yet been confirmed and an approval letter has not yet been issued. Residents now have the opportunity to submit further comments due to additional information, see below, up  until the 3rd January 2019. (Original comments are still relevant)

The application has not yet been considered by Cheshire West and now new objections have been raised by Garnett Farms.  They put the case that the water table in the area will be lowered if the Quarry goes ahead; in particular the water level in New Platt Mere would drop.  This has resulted in a number of new technical documents between the Environment Agency, Sibelco and others – which can be found on the following link to Cheshire West website under 17/03104/MIN. 

The Sibelco rebuttals (but not the other documents) have appeared on the Cheshire East planning website in the last few days and are open to public consultation with a closing date of 3rd January 2019, the planning application number is 17/3605W.   (click link).

After a number of re-schedulings the latest date for the Cheshire West Planning Committee is 8th January 2019.

Interestingly Cheshire West have also published a document from Sibelco entitled ‘Electromagnetic Compatibility Scheme’  which shows that the background level of radio emissions are higher than those specified by JBO, even before any works are started.  Although Sibelco have asked for a response from JBO, there is nothing showing on either CEC or CW&C websites.

Quarry location

Location of sand quarry

Jodrell oppose Glamping Site

JBO has opposed the current proposal that includes 10 ‘glamping’ pods, noting “that the impact from the additional potential contribution to the existing level of interference coming from that direction will be moderate to severe”  …..”the pods themselves are likely to offer less shielding than conventional building materials and this site is very close to the telescope”.

Goostrey Parish Council have also objected to the scheme due to conflict with N’hood Plan policies and the lack of footpaths/pavements from the site along the narrow lanes to the village.  Highways have pointed to the lack of car parking spaces on illustrations.

link to application:  18/5000m   Comments by 14th November.

The application, for Mr Barber of Cheshire Country Holidays on Bridge Lane, includes the construction of 10 glamping pods – on wheels covered by decking- a permanent reception/office, store, shop and shower block with parking spaces for 15 vehicles.

Glamping location relative to JBO & village

Housing at The Grange refused

Outline planning has been refused for 8 houses on the site of The Grange stables and menage off Station Road.  Goostrey PC voted to object and Jodrell Bank Observatory had strongly opposed the proposal.

Link to application: 18/4079C

The reasons for refusal are as follows:

  1. The Local Planning Authority considers that the proposed development would introduce a suburban, residential development (by virtue of the scale massing layout of the proposed dwellings) in this rural area which would not preserve or enhance the character of the locality. It is considered that a residential scheme in this location would not be acceptable in terms of its landscape and visual impact and would lead to an unacceptable form of development within the Open Countryside
  2. The proposed development would impair the efficiency of the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope which is an internationally important scientific facility.

The planning officer made the following observations:

“In any event it is not considered that the fundamental principle of the replacement of the existing buildings with two storey dwellings (as proposed) would preserve or enhance the character of the area and that the proposed development would have a significant negative impact on the Open Countryside and area. The existing equine use is considered to be appropriate to the character of the area and it is considered that the form/layout of the proposed residential development would assist to erode the landscape character of the area”

“Given the local character of the area, the impact on the landscape and the impact on Jodrell Bank it is not considered that the redevelopment of the application site to a residential use represents sustainable development as detailed within this report.”  Link to full officer’s report.

Grange site refused for 8 houses

JBO opposes Hermitage Lane and Mt Pleasant plans

Jodrell Bank Observatory objected to two current applications in Goostrey, ‘noting that the cumulative impact of this and other developments is more significant than each development individually’.  Both applications have been refused.

12 homes proposed by Crabtree Homes Ltd on open countryside to the east of Hermitage Lane, with access off Nether Lea.  Decision expected 3rd Jan.  Link to application:  18/4980C

Mount Pleasant Residential Park (Tingdene Parks Ltd) applied for the demolition of 60 & 60a Main Road and the garage blocks to redevelop the site with 9 new park homes.    Decision expected 30th Nov. Link to CEC planning page:  18/4510C 


The Lovell radio telescope