WIRRAL is to bid for World Heritage Status for Birkenhead Park and Port Sunlight.
Heritage groups have long argued that the pioneering public park and Lever’s model village deserve to be recognised on the Unesco list, which recognises places of outstanding universal value.
Wirral Council has now formally recognised the ambition for the first time in a new Heritage Strategy for the borough.
The document, compiled by heritage officer Eileen Willshaw with the help of local groups, outlines cultural priorities and action plans for the next three years.
It states: “The aspiration to achieve UNESCO World Heritage Site status for Port Sunlight and Birkenhead Park should be supported and pursued.”
It could take up to five years for Birkenhead Park (pictured left) and Port Sunlight to even be considered for the tentative list of proposed new World Heritage sites – the first stage in the process. But supporters – led by the Friends of Birkenhead Park – said it would be worth the wait.
Professor Robert Lee, chairman of the Friends, said: “This is really an exceptional opportunity to raise the profile of the park and enable it to achieve international recognition.
“The next stage is to establish an advisory planning board to consult with experts who have worked with other sites through this process. “
Birkenhead Park opened in 1847 and was the first publicly funded park in Britain. It inspired New York’s Central Park after designer F L Olstead visited.