Borders bid to be world treasure

Cultural campaigners are calling for parts of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to be designated a Unesco World Heritage Site because of their unique history and landscape.

Cultural campaigners are calling for parts of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to be designated a Unesco World Heritage Site because of their unique history and landscape.

An official request has been made to council leaders on both sides of the River Tweed to support the bid, led by Hawick goldsmith Ken Moffatt.

He believes it would put the Borders on the world map and bring in hundreds of millions of pounds, as well as safeguard its heritage.

And so far he has gathered support from a cross-party group of MPs, not least Conservative leader David Cameron, who said: "There is no doubt that the Borders region is a stunningly beautiful and deeply historical area.

"It has a strong case for World Heritage status."

Mr Moffatt, of Teviothead, said: "This is an official request to the councils of the regions included within the proposed area, that the issue of a Borders World Heritage Park be properly discussed at the next full council meeting.

"This is in the hope that the proposal can proceed via official channels.

"We hope at the very least that the possibilities of the allocation of an officer, or the commissioning of an independent report to proceed the issue, or the setting up of a steering group, might be officially discussed."

The concept of a Borders World Heritage Park has also been taken up by Berwick MP, Alan Beith MP, and Don Foster MP, of the Department for Art and Culture, who are looking into the proposal on behalf of Sir Menzies Campbell.

Mr Moffatt said: "The proposal has received overwhelming public support, both national and international.

"Borders World Heritage Park has gained the full support of Visit Scotland, and personal support of Riddell Graham, director of strategy.

"The Government is to review the tentative list this year - a pre-requisite for World Heritage nomination - and this will provide the opportunity for cases to be made for inclusion on the list.

"This opportunity will not be available again for many years."

Hadrian's Wall is a World Heritage Site in the European Roman frontiers programme.

To back the bid, visit Ken Moffatt's website at http://www.thecelticgoldsmith.com

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