Unesco World Heritage Site

Liverpool loses Unesco world heritage status—'really disappointed' mayor plans appeal

Committee finds that construction projects have reduced cultural value

Large-scale redevelopments of the docklands contributed to the loss of status © Atanas Paskalev

Unesco announced that it has stripped Liverpool of its status as a world heritage site because of construction projects including a massive redevelopment of the historic docklands that “will fragment and isolate the different dock areas visually” and cause “irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value” which earned the city the accolade in 2004.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee warned in 2012 that it was placing Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City on the list of world heritage in danger because of a proposed development, Liverpool Waters, which it said “will extend the city centre significantly and alter the skyline and profile of the site.” The decision to delete the city from the list came at a meeting of the committee underway in Fuzhou, China, and online.

“The project has since gone ahead along with other developments both inside the site and in its buffer zone,” the committee said in a press statement. “The Committee considers that these constructions are detrimental to the site’s authenticity and integrity.” Other construction projects that influenced the decision include a new stadium for Everton FC being built at Bramley Moore Dock.

Liverpool is only the third site to lose world heritage status—the other two were the Elbe valley in Dresden and the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman. It was inscribed in 2004 as one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries with pioneering dock technology transport systems and port management.

“Any deletion from the World Heritage List is a loss to the international community and to the internationally shared values and commitments under the World Heritage Convention,” the committee said.

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson said she is “really disappointed” at the decision and planned to appeal. “We will always value our heritage in Liverpool,” she said in a filmed statement on Twitter. She added that “it’s quite difficult for me to comprehend how Unesco would rather have empty dock sites than the Everton stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.”