Liverpool
The Liver Building falls within the World Heritage Site c.LCC

Liverpool makes last-ditch bid to salvage World Heritage Status 

Dan Whelan

Leaders Steve Rotheram and Joanne Anderson were among those who signed an open letter to Unesco asking the agency to defer any decision to strip the city of its title, insisting heritage and regeneration can go hand in hand. 

Scroll down for full list of signatories  

The letter also included an invitation to Unesco to visit Liverpool and see that the city’s World Heritage Site “should be shown up as an exemplar of best practice in heritage-led regeneration”. 

“We would like to make it absolutely clear that the city does not want to lose this status,” the letter states. 

“Deletion…would be a missed opportunity in demonstrating to the world that heritage and regeneration are not mutually exclusive.” 

Unesco is due to make a decision on whether or not to remove Liverpool’s World Heritage Status designation this week. 

Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City was awarded the title in 2003. The area covers 340 acres and includes the Three Graces, Albert Dock, the Stanley Dock and Duke Street conservation areas, as well as the city’s commercial and cultural quarters. 

However, in 2012, Liverpool was placed on Unesco’s ‘endangered’ list, a response to concerns over the approval of Peel L&P’s £5bn Liverpool Waters project.

Lexington Liverpool Waters

Moda’s Lexington is part of Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters

Earlier this year, Everton was granted consent to build a £500m stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, which falls within Liverpool Waters and the World Heritage Site. 

The Everton project would include a £50m to upgrade of heritage assets at the dock and “bring millions of people to the shores of the Mersey over the coming decades to watch football, as well as to experience and learn about the city’s and Britain’s maritime past,” the letter to Unesco said. 

The Unesco designation has split opinion in Liverpool in recent years.   

Some commentators believe the accolade has stunted development in the city and Liverpool should willingly give it up, while others argue the designation is a good thing for the city, especially in terms of tourism. 

Everton Stadium East Stand

Everton’s new stadium is to be built on derelict docklands within the Unesco zone

Liverpool’s relationship with Unesco has become increasingly strained over the last decade, as the city council has attempted to balance regeneration with the need for heritage preservation. 

In a bid to placate Unesco, Liverpool City Council last year unveiled the North Shore Vision framework, a document aimed at guiding development across 260 acres of protected dockland in a manner that would preserve and enhance the World Heritage Site.

However, the document is yet to be formally adopted. 

The full list of signatories is as follows:

Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool 

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region 

Kim Johnson, MP, Liverpool Riverside 

Lord Michael Heseltine 

Lord Mike Storey 

Tony Reeves, chief executive, Liverpool City Council

Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief executive, Everton Football Club 

Billy Hogan, chief executive, Liverpool Football Club 

Steven Underwood, chief executive, The Peel Group 

Asif Hamed, chair, Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership 

Paul Cherpeau, chief executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce 

Dame Janet Beer, vice-chancellor, University of Liverpool 

Ian Campbell, vice-chancellor, Liverpool John Moores University 

Gerald Pillay, vice-chancellor, Liverpool Hope University 

Alan Vallance, chief executive, RIBA 

Sir David Henshaw, chair, National Museums Liverpool 

Helen Legg, director, Tate Liverpool and chair, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool 

Sam Lackey, director, Liverpool Biennial 

Michael Parkinson, Liverpool World Heritage Task Force 

Claire Dove, chair of trustees, St George’s Hall 

Gavin Davenport, chair, Merseyside Civic Society 

Sir Neil Cossons, former chair, English Heritage 

Willy Russell, playwright 

Most Revd. Malcolm McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, OP 

Rev. Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool 

Rt Rev Beverley Mason, Bishop of Warrington 

Very Rev Dr Sue Jones, Dean of Liverpool Cathedral 

Your Comments

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What none of these signatories has ever done is fund a proper, credible piece of research amongst a suitable sample of visitors which asked them to name, unprompted, the three key reasons that they decided to visit Liverpool. And I think we all know why.

Get rid: it’s a millstone.

By Sceptical

Millstone around our neck.
Get rid of it and let’s start rebuilding this wasteland.

By Paul

We don’t want it, we want jobs development. Move on!!!

By Anonymous

Liverpool doesn’t need it , Liverpool is already a global brand .

By Anonymous

I have spoken to many visitors to the city and NONE ever mentioned World Heritage status as a reason for coming. …we need bricks and mortar investment in the the city centre and environs…without the handicap of every venture subject to scrutiny by faceless judges …many of whom have never been here

By Tercol

People will still visit the city regardless of world heritage status we are renowned all over the world for lots of different things We also have the cruise lineer terminal with liners coming every week you can’t stop the city progressing for the sake of heritage both can go hand in hand Does anyone object to new buildings in London ?

By PhilipMoorcroft

It’s nice to have WHS , but it’s nice to have investment and employment. WHS is stymieing both, with it’s ridiculous agenda of protecting run down abandoned docks and quays were huge structures once stood and now they are objecting to new structures being built. Like a lot of these “la de dah” organisations they don’t consider the impact of the normal people who need jobs and hope. They are in a world of their own, they have their place on the ladder of life and are happy to stay there and keep other people at the bottom. While we are here get rid of Peel too, they are just as much to to blame for the underdeveloped dock areas.

By Liverpolitis

If only even half these signatories were as collaborative and vocal in advocating Liverpool as a city for inward investment, HS2, office construction, new stations, an airport link.. etc etc….

By LEighteen

It is a ball and chain on Liverpool`s development. Get rid of it so we can be like Leeds and Manchester.

By MMCD Sausage

We don’t need this useless badge.
We need to move on from cave dwelling.
Sick of looking at four storey boxes.

By Graham

It is only a millstone if you have no vision. A couple of years ago I met a group of 8 or 10 tourists who was ticking off WHS sites, Liverpool waterfront was one of them, they were going to Ireland next to do Giants causeway and had traveled up from Stonehenge the day before. If you were a proper scouse and talked to people you may find out that it does bring people who spend a lot of money in our city of Liverpool. There are a fair few web pages that promote UNESCO sites as a bucket list and at the time Liverpool was on a couple of them. The Millstones are the people, developers, and council without vision who constantly pull down buildings or let them rot to make a quick profit for themselves rather than it helping all business in Liverpool make a profit.

By Scouse Lass

UNESCO is two-faced, they turn the other cheek when London pulls down historic areas or builds talls next to historic sites, or in Hamburg the modern Hafen City project is adjacent to the speicherstadt area, but when they can bully Liverpool that`s ok.
The UNESCO zone in Liverpool is far too big, it`s not just the waterfront , it spreads and weaves all through the city centre and along the docks ,and strangles activity and development, if it goes it`s a shame, but we cannot let it smother the future life of the whole city.

By Anonymous

Who cares? The fact the letter needs to be sent is reason alone to support the removal of its status. Liverpool is a living, dynamic city. It doesn’t need to pander to a heritage body to respect and preserve significant heritage fabric.

By Pointless

I admire and respect WHS, however the area in dispute seems to be the dock estate complete with open docks, mostly in disrepair or being used for scrap metal storage. If WHS could agree to sympathetic regeneration this would open up some of this area for all to appreciate. By doing this it can only improve the local area outside the immediate dock estate which is now one of the most deprived regions in the western world. Please compromise.

By Liverpool Las

The WHS status reflects that Liverpool is special and unique. Do we really want it to be a cut-price Manchester, crammed with generic glass boxes?

The stadium is a bad idea anyway, regardless of WHS status. Walton will suffer with the loss of that asset in the area. The docklands in question are mostly baron of residents, so why build there?

By Peel

Liverpool needs to have this millstone removed. The 3 Graces are the worthy part of the waterfront nothing else is worth saving and development needs to happen and at pace . I enjoy visiting the waterfront but the rest of the city is drab and underdeveloped . I always look forward to heading back down the M62 where it always feels so much much is going on.

By NoRomanc