Statement of Outstanding Universal Value
This was approved in 2019 by the World Heritage Committee.
The property retains all attributes that document its development as a site of pioneering astronomical research. Practically all stages of development from the very beginning, with improvised, re-used or borrowed equipment, onwards are represented by buildings, physical remains or in some cases archaeological remnants. Some important stages, such as represented by the large Transit Telescope, have not survived intact although traces remain. The later, large scale and far more ambitious instruments are still present at the property. This includes the iconic Lovell Telescope with its Control Building. The property also retains many quite modest structures which are, none the less, important for their research use, or which otherwise supported the work of the Observatory.
In general, all the structures are very well preserved and the property continues to be dominated by the large scale Lovell Telescope and Mark II Telescope. However, several early wooden buildings have suffered from neglect and dis-use. Their restoration is to be undertaken. The grounds are well cared for. Recent buildings have a simple and subdued character, which do not detract from the overall appreciation of the property.
The Consultation zone, buffer zone of the property, protects the scientific capabilities of the Observatory from radio emissions in its vicinity, contributing to maintenance of the functional integrity of the property.
The location of the property has continued unchanged, and the largely agricultural setting is essentially identical apart from the construction of the Square Kilometre Array building as part of the ongoing scientific use of the Observatory. The form and design has evolved through time reflecting the important development history of the property. This includes the somewhat improvised character of many structures indicative of the priority given to scientific research rather than the quality of buildings. Materials and substance have been mostly retained although there has been some replacement of deteriorated materials over time. The property retains its ongoing scientific use.
Protection and management requirements
Most of the attributes of Jodrell Bank Observatory have been listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The two major telescopes have been listed in the highest category, Grade 1. There are some elements which have no listing at the present time, although they are managed for their heritage values as part of the property.
In addition, World Heritage inscription affords all attributes a protection status equivalent to the highest level or Grade 1, in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) and the spatial planning system which operates through several pieces of legislation, including the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Any changes to listed buildings require approval.
The buffer zone is based on the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope Consultation Zone which has operated effectively to protect the Observatory for many decades. It was established by the Town and Country Planning (Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope) Direction 1973.
The property is managed by the University of Manchester with a committee, the Jodrell Bank Site Governance Group responsible for coordination. This committee includes key internal stakeholders such as the three main site user groups. Each of the site user groups has its own well-developed and independent management and operational structures. Roles managing the heritage of the Observatory are integrated with the daily work of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, responsible for scientific and engineering research, telescope operations and engineering, and the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre which is responsible for visitor management and heritage coordination. These user groups are supported by other management groups within the University. The third site user group is the Square Kilometre Array Organisation, located just outside the property within the buffer zone but within the overall Observatory.
The management of the property is based on existing University structures, to be augmented by a World Heritage Site Steering Committee which will have oversight of the property and undertake coordination between the University, users and external stakeholders. The Conservation Management Plan (2016) provides an overview of the instruments and procedures for the effective management of the property. The plan, supplemented by an extensive Site Gazetteer, is currently being updated.
The Observatory has a long experience with managing visitors. There is a current tourism management plan and enhanced presentation of the property is ongoing.
World Heritage Site inscribed by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in 2019.
Justification for Inscription
See Criteria, Statement of Significance and Statement of Outstanding Universal Value.