Liverpool plans positive future despite World Heritage Site loss

Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson described the decision as ‘incomprehensible’.

Liverpool waterfront deleted from the World Heritage List
Liverpool waterfront deleted from the World Heritage List

Liverpool will continue to plan for a “positive future” despite a decision to delete it from the World Heritage List, leaders have vowed.

On Wednesday, members of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Committee voted in a secret ballot to strip the city of its status after fears developments, including the new Everton FC stadium, posed a threat to its value.

The city’s waterfront was named a World Heritage Site in 2004 but has been on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 2012, when the committee decided the Liverpool Waters development, planned for the city’s northern docks, was a potential threat to the site.

Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson described the decision as “incomprehensible”.

She said: “We will be working with Government to examine whether we can appeal but, whatever happens, Liverpool will always be a World Heritage city.

“We have a stunning waterfront and incredible built heritage that is the envy of other cities.

“Our commitment to maintaining and improving our buildings remains as strong as ever and will continue to be a key part of our drive to attract visitors, along with leisure, retail and events.

“I find it incomprehensible that Unesco would rather Bramley Moore Dock remain a derelict wasteland, rather than making a positive contribution to the city’s future and that of its residents.

“I’ll now be seeking to draw together all the UK heritage bodies in a round table to plan a positive future with further investment.”

Metro mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said: “This is a really disappointing decision, but I am confident that our city will remain a vibrant and attractive cultural destination and – as we rebuild from the pandemic – will continue to welcome millions of people to our city and wider city region.”

A spokeswoman for Historic England said it believed the area was in a better condition now then when it was first awarded the status thanks to regeneration projects.

She said: “We acknowledge the challenges the city faces, but believe that Liverpool’s heritage remains internationally important.

“Despite Unesco’s decision, we are committed to supporting Liverpudlians and the council to champion their city’s extraordinary heritage now and in the future.”

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Cherpeau said the decision was “a shame” but the city had huge potential for growth.

Liverpool waterfront deleted from the World Heritage List
The sun rising behind the Liver Building over the Liverpool waterfront (Peter Byrne/PA)

He said: “In this wider context, the loss of World Heritage Status is a glancing blow, yet Liverpool remains steady in its pursuit of economic prosperity for the people who live and work here through the creation of jobs and opportunities to broaden our economic base.”

Campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage said the move was an “embarrassment” for the Government.

Executive president Marcus Binney said: “We lament the failure of British ministers to speak out strongly to emphasise the welcome change of direction in Liverpool in favour of reviving historic buildings and areas.

“Despite the losses, the Albert Dock, St George’s Hall and Ropewalks are outstanding examples of urban revival and preservation enterprise at a global scale.

“This disaster of striking off Liverpool should never have been allowed to happen.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “We are extremely disappointed in this decision and believe Liverpool still deserves its World Heritage Status given the significant role the historic docks and the wider city have played throughout history.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News