Liverpool likely to lose World Heritage status after Unesco says government failed to protect site

·3-min read
The city has held the accolade since 2004 (Getty Images)
The city has held the accolade since 2004 (Getty Images)

Unesco is preparing to remove Liverpool from its World Heritage list after the UN body found the government had failed to protect the site’s “authenticity and integrity”.

The heritage body will decide whether the city’s waterfront will be stripped of the prestigious status next week during a meeting in China.

However, a pre-summit report seen by The i newspaper has apparently recommended it be dropped from the list.

The dossier reportedly said the site had suffered a “significant loss” to its “authenticity and integrity” due to “inadequate governance processes, mechanisms and regulations”.

Liverpool is on the list of world heritage sites in danger of losing their status, as it has “not complied with the advice and repeated requests” of the Unesco committee. Its status has been under threat for years, with its future becoming increasingly uncertain after a £5bn Liverpool Waters project to restore the northern docks was approved in 2013.

The heritage body said that the waterfront’s “outstanding universal value” came under further “ascertained threat” following recent planning approval for Everton’s proposed £500m stadium at Bramley Moore Dock. Unesco said that the move suggested a “lack of commitment” to “protect the property in the long-term”.

According to The i , the heritage committee appears to lay blame with the government for this development, with the latest document stating: “The UK Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government reviewed and approved the project.”

“The state party has not complied with the repeated requests of the committee and has itself indicated that there are no legal and other means available in the governance of the property that would allow the state party to comply with all of the committee’s requests so as to ensure the protection of the property,” the newspaper quotes the report as reading.

Liverpool City Council is calling on Unesco to defer any decision until after it to visits the city to judge what progress has been made. Last month, it presented a report to the committee showing that 119 historic assets have been refurbished in recent years at a cost of £700m, with an additional £800m to be spent on more than 40 assets over the next five years.

Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson described the report as a “timely reminder” of why the city is on the prestigious list.

“We think deletion would be hugely unfair given all this body of work has not yet been assessed by the committee members and we need them to see Bramley Moore Dock with their own eyes,” Ms Anderson said.

“Deletion would not just be a loss to Liverpool, the UK, and to a greater degree Unesco, it would be an even bigger missed opportunity in demonstrating to the world that heritage and regeneration are not mutually exclusive.”

Liverpool has held the accolade since 2004, ranking it alongside other historic cities including Edinburgh and Venice.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) was contacted for comment.

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