Unesco report says Liverpool should lose World Heritage statuson June 21, 2021 at 8:10 pm

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A Unesco committee recommends “with deep regret” Liverpool should be demoted due to development.

People view Liverpool waterfront from a ferry

A Unesco committee has recommended that Liverpool should lose its World Heritage status.

The threat of Liverpool’s demotion has rumbled on for more than a decade after modern developments on the city’s waterfront.

Liverpool City Council said about £1.5bn had been invested in upgrading 157 heritage assets.

A final decision will be made when Unesco confirms the sites on its World Heritage List at a meeting next month.

The new report by the World Heritage Committee said “with deep regret” new developments in the city had resulted in “serious deterioration and irreversible loss of attributes”.

Artist's impression

image copyrightEverton FC

A government spokesperson said: “The UK is a world leader in cultural heritage protection and Liverpool’s World Heritage Status reflects the important role the city has played in our nation’s history.

“We are disappointed in this recommendation and will continue to work with Unesco, Historic England and Liverpool City Council to ensure the World Heritage committee can make an informed decision when it meets next month.”

Joanne Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, called on the committee to defer any decision for 12 months and said deletion would be “hugely unfair”.

“We need [committee members] to see Bramley Moore Dock with their own eyes – physically or virtually,” she said.

Ms Anderson said to strip the city of its World Heritage status would be a “missed opportunity in demonstrating to the world that heritage and regeneration are not mutually exclusive”.

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region mayor, said it was a “deeply disappointing” decision and pleaded with the committee to reconsider it.

He tweeted: “We are proud of our history but our heritage is a vital part of our regeneration.

“I’d urge them to take up our invitation to visit rather than taking their decision sat around a table on the other side of the world.”

Heritage campaigner Wayne Colquhoun said city officials had ignored repeated warnings about new developments – and the Everton stadium plans look to have been the final straw.

“If you’re going to fill [that] dock in – as a mercantile and maritime city on top of already filling the other docks in – you’re displaying that over your universal value.

“They’ve pushed the boundaries – and pushed it and pushed it.”

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The parade of various sections of the New Army of 12,000 men outside St George's Hall

image copyrightGetty Images

  • The World Heritage Site stretches from the city’s famous waterfront, through the historic commercial districts, to St George’s Hall
  • The city’s bid was centred on its history as a major global port in the 18th and 19th Centuries, when it played a significant role in the growth of the British Empire.
  • It was a hub for the mass movement of people, including migrants from Europe to America, and had a key role in the transatlantic slave trade
  • The Albert Dock area features more Grade I-listed buildings than anywhere else in the UK
  • Liverpool is one of 32 World Heritage Sites in the UK, along with Stonehenge and the Giant’s Causeway
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Liverpool was given World Heritage status from the international cultural organisation in 2004.

It recognised the city’s history as a major trading centre during the British Empire and its architectural landmarks.

Nearly 30 figures from politics, football and academia signed a letter, published in the Times on Saturday, urging Unesco not to strip Liverpool of the status.

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