Liverpool City Council has suggested there are “compelling arguments” for expanding the city’s World Heritage Site to include areas such as Rodney Street, Chinatown, and Hartley’s southern docks, with a feasibility study due to be put together in the coming months.
The city’s current World Heritage Site incorporates Liverpool’s core historic docks, including Old Dock and Stanley Dock, and stretches to Bramley-Moore Dock, the proposed site of Everton’s new stadium, to the north.
The council is now looking to put together a feasibility study which could see the WHS extended to incorporate a number of new areas. These include docks to the south of the city centre: Queens Dock, opened in 1785; Coburg, opened as Brunswick Basin in 1816; and Brunswick Dock, built between 1827 and 1832.
A report to the council argued there was a “strong case” for expanding the boundary of the WHS to include these docks, given their “relatively early dates”.
Other areas to be looked at for inclusion are Chinatown and the areas around Rodney Street, Canning Street, and Hope Street; here, the council said there were “compelling arguments” for inclusion in the WHS.
Two further areas associated with the historic docks and trading area – Ten Streets and the Baltic Triangle, will also be considered, although the council said both “only contain residual elements” with “further work required to asses if they are sufficient to satisfy the [WHS] criteria”.
Both Ten Streets and the Baltic Triangle are subject to separate masterplanning documents being brought forward by the council.
A feasibility study for the expansion will now be drawn up, subject to approval by the council’s cabinet this Friday, ahead of the World Heritage Committee in July this year. The report is expected to complete prior to the WHC’s meeting in July 2020.
There is precedent for boundary changes within World Heritage Sites, with a site in Georgia being altered last year.
Last summer, the World Heritage Committee approved Liverpool’s WHS status at its annual summit, but it remains on a list of “sites in danger”, a position it has held since Peel’s vast Liverpool Waters scheme was approved in 2012.
Since being put on the list, a series of measures are now in place to protect the status of the site.
These include regulatory planning documents which provide legal guidelines to protect the WHS properties; design guidelines in the city’s local plan; developing a “skyline policy” for tall buildings; along with the review into expanding or enhancing the WHS.