Residents, businesses and visitors are to be consulted on a new blueprint for the management of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.
The partnership that forms the World Heritage Site Steering Group – which includes Parish and Town Councils, agencies like the Environment Agency, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and the two Local Authorities covering the Site – is seeking views from those who live, work and visit the Gorge to help shape the management plan.
As a World Heritage Site, there is a legal requirement to have a Management Plan in place to oversee the conservation and protection of the Site’s unique qualities while supporting the local community and businesses to flourish.
Council leader Councillor Shaun Davies, who is also cabinet member for Tourism, said: “The Ironbridge Gorge was one of the first sites in Britain to be given World Heritage status and is recognised for the unique role it played in the development of the Industrial Revolution.
“It is also famed for its dramatic wooded landscape, the iconic Iron Bridge itself, unique shops and varied museums. Its significance is unquestionably global.
“The Gorge attracts more than one million visitors each year and is central to Telford and Wrekin’s burgeoning visitor economy.
“Ironbridge is also a living, working community where 4,000 people live and about 1,500 people are employed.
“This plan seeks to safeguard the unique heritage and character of the Gorge, strengthen and support the living and working community, ensuring the Site is accessible and its potential as a visitor attraction is maximised while conserving both the historic built and natural environment.
“I hope that residents and businesses that make up the communities of the World Heritage Site will also support the objectives of the plan and help to shape the final version by contributing to the consultation process.”
Anna Brennand, Chief Executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: “This is a very exciting year for the World Heritage Site, as we are celebrating its 30th anniversary.
“In order to ensure the long term future of the World Heritage Site, it is important that we have a Management Plan that reflects the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.
“We hope that the whole community will take part in the consultation and help us shape the future of the Gorge.”
The World Heritage Site Steering Group is independently chaired and includes organisations with responsibility for the Gorge including Parish and Town Councils, Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council, Severn Gorge Countryside Trust, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Historic England and the Environment Agency.
The consultation will run from 27 June 2016 to 5 August 2016. Public drop-in sessions will be held between 4pm and 7pm as follows:
• Monday 4 July – Broseley Library, Old School, Bridgnorth Road, Broseley, TF12 5EQ
• Wednesday 6 July - The Glass Classroom, next to Enginuity, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DQ
• Tuesday 19 July - The White Hart, 10 Wharfage, Ironbridge, Telford, TF8 7AW
• Wednesday 20 July – Madeley Town Council Offices, Jubilee House, 74 High Street, Madeley, Telford, TF7 5AH
http://www.telford.gov.uk/igwhsmgtplan a link to the draft management plan