Birkenhead Park in running for World Heritage Site status
Dating back to 1847, the 140-acre park has secured central government support for its bid to land a spot on UNESCO’s list.
Birkenhead Park was announced as one of five sites to be added to the UK’s Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Site status – a list that is updated every 10 years. Fellow Wirral site Port Sunlight was not successful in its bid for a spot on the Tentative List.
The other five sites that were successful are York city centre, Little Cayman Marine Parks, the Zenith of Iron Age Shetland, and the East Atlantic Flyway.
They join two sites already on the list: The Flow Country and Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements.
The locations on the UK’s Tentative List all have government backing, with the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport committing to assisting local authorities and devolved administrations in their bids for World Heritage Site status.
The World Heritage Site badge goes to places that are deemed as unique and have “outstanding universal value to humanity”, according to UNESCO.
In adding Birkenhead Park to the Tentative List, the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport described the park as a “blueprint for municipal planning that has influenced town and city parks across the world, including New York’s Central Park”.
David Armstrong, assistant chief executive of Wirral Council, welcomed the news that Birkenhead Park would receive government help in its World Heritage Site bid.
“Already Wirral residents hugely value Birkenhead Park and this is shown by the fact that it is visited by nearly 2m people every year,” Armstrong said.
“For several years, it has been an ambition of Wirral Council and partners – including the Friends of Birkenhead Park – to seek UNESCO’s recognition of the Park and its immediate surroundings as a World Heritage Site,” he continued.
He added later: “A successful application for WHS status would also bolster the wider regeneration of Birkenhead and if ultimately accepted as a World Heritage Site this flagship park would have its place in history cemented even further, as well adding further to its international recognition.”
Birkenhead Park is located in the heart of Birkenhead town centre. While it has many entrances, the most prominent is the grand entrance on the corner of Park Road North and Park Road East.
If Birkenhead Park is successful in its World Heritage Site bid, it will join 33 other sites in the UK that have the status. Last year, Gwynedd’s slate hills and mines joined the World Heritage Site ranks. That same year, Liverpool lost its World Heritage Site status because of increasing development on the waterfront.