Unesco's World Heritage Committee has placed Liverpool on the official list of World Heritage in Danger due to the proposed construction of Peel Group's Liverpool Waters.
In a forthright statement issued on Tuesday, Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) criticised Peel's proposed 'massive redevelopment of the historic docklands north of the city centre,' which has planning consent from Liverpool City Council.
The statement went on: "The Committee contended that the development will extend the city centre significantly and alter the skyline and profile of the site inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004. Furthermore, experts argued that the redevelopment scheme will fragment and isolate the different dock areas visually.
"The Committee warned that if the project is implemented, Liverpool may entirely lose the outstanding universal value for which it was given World Heritage status. The site includes six areas in the historic centre and docklands is a testimony to the development of Liverpool as one of the world's major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries.
"It bears witness to the important role of the city in the growth of the British Empire as a major port for the mass movement of people, e.g. slaves and emigrants from northern Europe to America. Liverpool was a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management and the site features a great number of significant commercial, civic and public buildings, including St George's Plateau."
The Committee earlier on Tuesday removed two sites from the List of World Heritage in Danger following improvements in their conservation: the Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.
Peel maintains its development is good for Liverpool and the heritage lobby does not understand the commercial needs of developers to build on a sufficient scale to generate profit.
The issue of whether Liverpool's World Heritage status has attracted tourists on its own during the city revival over the past decade has divided opinion locally. Critics of World Heritage status say it is not worth keeping and has not done much to promote Liverpool. Fans say the heritage of the waterfront, docks, cathedrals need such regulation to ensure design quality and respect in future development.