Liverpool has been stripped of its World Heritage status after a UN committee found developments threatened the value of the city’s waterfront, following a secret ballot by the Unesco committee at a meeting in China.
A report in June by the World Heritage Committee said planned developments on the city’s waterfront had resulted in “irreversible loss of attributes”.
Unesco had reportedly previously warned the city that the developments, including the new Everton FC stadium, had resulted in a “serious deterioration” of the historic site. However it’s believed that the committee’s principal concerns centred around the £5bn mixed use Liverpool Waters development.
Unesco’s decision was described as “incomprehensible” by the city’s mayor Joanne Anderson, who said she plans to work with the government to examine whether the city could appeal.
Liverpool was awarded the title in 2004 in recognition of its historical and architectural impact, joining places including the Taj Mahal, Egypt’s Pyramids and Canterbury Cathedral, recognising the city’s history as a major trading centre during the British Empire and its architectural landmarks.
Liverpool becomes only the third site to lose its World Heritage status since the list began in 1978, the other two being Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in 2007 and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany in 2009.
Nearly 30 figures from politics, football and academia signed a letter to The Times in June urging Unesco not to strip the city of its status.
They said the £500m Everton stadium – in one of the city’s poorest areas – would “bring millions of people to the shores of the Mersey”, where they would learn about “the city’s and Britain’s maritime past.”
Following the announcement, the government said it was “extremely disappointed” and believes Liverpool still deserves its heritage status “given the significant role the historic docks and the wider city have played throughout history”.