Liverpool’s world heritage status under threat over Northern Docklands plans
Liverpool could be set to lose its world heritage status after a report said developments
including the new Everton stadium posed a threat to its value.
The city’s waterfront was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education
Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2004, joining places including the Taj
Mahal, Egypt’s Pyramids, and Canterbury Cathedral.
But a recommendation to delete the area from the list is due to be discussed at a
meeting of the World Heritage Committee in late July where a decision will be made.
The recommendation, published on Monday, said the implementation of the Liverpool
Waters plan, a scheme to transform the city’s Northern Docklands, had resulted in
‘serious deterioration. It said projects including the Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium,
the new Everton ground that was approved earlier this year, added to the ‘ascertained
threat of further deterioration and loss of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of
A Government spokeswoman 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.’
Leaders in Liverpool have called for Unesco to defer the decision until they visit the city,
which is believed to have spent around £1.5billion upgrading 157 sites.
A letter published in The Times on Sunday was signed by leaders including the city’s
mayor Joanne Anderson and metro mayor of the city region Steve Rotheram.
Others to have signed the letter include chief executives of Liverpool and Everton’s
football clubs, bishops, and Lord Michael Heseltine, who played a significant role in the
regeneration of Albert Dock as a Conservative cabinet minister in the 1980s.
It said: ‘Liverpool, like the rest of the world, has had to focus all efforts on dealing with
Covid-19 and is currently planning its comeback.
‘Deletion of World Heritage status would be a setback to those plans. And a very unfair
Speaking about the latest news, the city’s mayor tweeted: ‘The report recommending
deletion of Liverpool’s World Heritage status will take time to digest, as its quite
‘A full response will be made via the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport but
our position is clear – we will be asking the committee to defer & review our case over the
next 12 months.’
The city has been on the list of World Heritage in Danger since 2012.
A document published by Liverpool City Council said more than £700 million had been
invested in upgrading 119 historic assets within the six-character areas of the World
Heritage Site in the past few years.
The report – Liverpool, World Heritage City – said a further £800 million would be spent
on more than 40 heritage assets, over the next five years.
Mayor Anderson said: ‘We will be sending the report to the committee members and I
hope it will make them think twice about removing Liverpool from its list of World
‘The city council is under new political leadership, with a new emphasis on social value
when it comes to development.
‘We want to engage with the committee members and invite them to fully appraise all
that has been achieved since the committee last met in 2019, and to review all that the
council is seeking to achieve in the next 12 months.’
She added: ‘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.’