Liverpool stripped of Unesco World Heritage status

Photo: AP Liverpool historical waterfront.

Liverpool has been stripped of its World Heritage status after a UN committee found developments threatened the value of the city's waterfront, news wires reported. The decision was made following a secret ballot by the Unesco committee at a meeting in China. Unesco had said that some the developments resulted in a "serious deterioration" of the historic site.

But the decision was described as "incomprehensible" by the city's mayor. "Our World Heritage site has never been in better condition having benefitted from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment across dozens of listed buildings and the public realm," Joanne Anderson said cited by the BBC. She added she would work with the government to examine whether the city could appeal the decision, which comes "a decade after Unesco last visited the city to see it with their own eyes".

The government said it was "extremely disappointed" with the decision and believes Liverpool still deserves its heritage status "given the significant role the historic docks and the wider city have played throughout history". According to Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, the decision was "a retrograde step that does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground".

Liverpool becomes only the third site to lose its World Heritage status since the list began in 1978, the other two being Oman's Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in 2007 and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany in 2009. The city was awarded the much-coveted title in 2004 in recognition of its historical and architectural impact. It recognised its history as a major trading centre during the British Empire and its architectural landmarks.

However, a report in June by the World Heritage Committee said developments on the city's waterfront had resulted in "irreversible loss of attributes". It cited the Liverpool Waters project and Everton's new stadium, which is being built at Bramley Moore Dock. Unesco director Dr Mechtild Rossler said the city had been warned of its potential deletion from the list for many years.

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