Liverpool stripped of Unesco world heritage status

21 July 2021, 11:11 | Updated: 21 July 2021, 11:37

Liverpool was awarded World Heritage Status in 2004
Liverpool was awarded World Heritage Status in 2004. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Liverpool has been stripped of its Unesco World Heritage Status following a secret vote by the UN heritage body.

At a secret ballot at a meeting of the body in China on Wednesday, it was decided that new developments on Liverpool’s waterfront had resulted in an "irreversible loss of attributes".

Of particular concern was Everton’s planned new stadium, set to begin construction on the 26 July. This was described as potentially having a "major adverse impact" on Liverpool’s heritage status.

However, Everton have argued that heritage is an important focus of their new stadium through the combination of modern and historical elements.

Liverpool was awarded World Heritage Status in 2004, joining the ranks of global landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, in recognition of its historical significance and architectural impact.

The threat of losing its status has been present since 2012, as Unesco raised concerns about increasing developments on the waterfront changing the city’s heritage.

Liverpool's metropolitan mayor, Steve Rotheram, tweeted a statement and commented that he is "obviously disappointed by UNESCO's decision."

"We did not want to lose our World Heritage Status, but nor could we allow it to preserve our region in aspic, while the world evolves around us.

"But I'm confident our region will remain a vibrant and attractive cultural destination."

His statement added: "Today's decision by UNESCO is a retrograde step that does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground. Indeed, this was a decision taken on the other side of the world by people who do not appear to understand the renaissance that has taken place in recent years."

The Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, released a video in which she stated she is "really disappointed" with the decision.

"We will try and appeal this decision, but we understand and we will try and work with other cities to try and get some sensible debate around maintaining heritage and developing and regenerating our communities."

A UK Government spokeswoman said: "We are extremely disappointed in this decision and believe Liverpool still deserves its World Heritage Status given the significant role the historic docks and the wider city have played throughout history."

The city becomes only the third world heritage site to lose its status, following the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman in 2007 and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany in 2009.