World Heritage bid for Derry’s Walls almost £1m.

Derry's Walls at Shipquay Street. DER0315MC057
Derry's Walls at Shipquay Street. DER0315MC057

Putting together a bid to secure World Heritage Status for Derry’s Walls would cost a massive £800,000 with only minimal chance of success, it has emerged.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s Principal Conservation Architect Manus Deery said that the UNESCO team had shifted their focus away from walled cities and away from Europe, meaning Derry would be starting at a disadvantage if it were to re-apply.

Manus Deery. DER0315MC056

Manus Deery. DER0315MC056

Speaking to the Journal, Mr Deery said any future Derry Walls bid would b e a “hard sell” to UNESCO.

“There are currently 840 world heritage sites and about half are in Europe and a high proportion are walled cities. They want to encourage new sites outside Europe.

“There was a very good bid put forward last time to the UK tentative list, and I think the city does reflect a centre of Peace Building. My own feeling is we would be better concentrating on being that examplar, on making sure our management is of the highest possible standard, and standing out because of the actions we do rather than spending millions of pounds seeking a badge from somebody else.”

Actually achieving World Heritage Status could cost in the region of a staggering £40m, Mr Deery said, adding: “If we are potentially considering spending £40m, maybe we should spend it on our tourism product.”

He also revealed that NIEA are currently revising the 2006 Conservation Plan for the City Walls.

The new plan will be used to inform decisions affecting the Walls and aim to ensure its potential is realised.

Derry failed to make it on to the UK shortlist of applications for UNESCO three years ago, and there were calls last year for the Irish government to intervene and make a fresh bid.

NIEA meanwhile have been involved in numerous key projects regarding the Walls over recent years, including the installation of CCTV, the removal of barriers and gates and the introduction of a guidebook and guide cards published in 12 different languages.

“Those are available on our website and all the places were a tourist might call in,” Mr Deery said. “We have also launched two apps on the Walls in the last year. They are a great addition to how people experience the city.”

The Walled City Signature Project was bringing more people onto the Walls, he added, with NIEA working closely with the owners of key buildings along them.

Derry failed to make it on to the UK shortlist of applications for UNESCO three years ago, and there were calls last year for the Irish government to intervene and make a fresh bid.

NIEA meanwhile have been involved in numerous key projects regarding the Walls over recent years, including the installation of CCTV, the removal of barriers and gates and the introduction of a guidebook and guide cards published in 12 different languages.

“Those are available on our website and all the places were a tourist might call in,” Mr Deery said. “We have also launched two apps on the Walls in the last year. They are a great addition to how people experience the city.”

The Walled City Signature Project was bringing more people onto the Walls, he added, with NIEA working closely with the owners of key buildings along them.