Liverpool has been stripped of its World Heritage status by the United Nations’ culture organization.
The city was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2004, joining places including the Taj Mahal, Egypt’s Pyramids and Canterbury Cathedral. But it was placed on the organization’s heritage in danger list in 2012 after concerns modern development was marring the docklands’ historic character.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted to remove the designation because of developments in the city center and on its historic River Mersey waterfront. The committee said the projects, including a planned new stadium for soccer team Everton, were “detrimental to the site’s authenticity and integrity” and had caused “irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property.”
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson called the decision “incomprehensible.”
“I’m hugely disappointed and concerned by this decision to delete Liverpool’s World Heritage status, which comes a decade after UNESCO last visited the city to see it with their own eyes,” she said.
Anderson said the city would explore whether it could appeal, “but, whatever happens, Liverpool will always be a World Heritage city. We have a stunning waterfront and incredible built heritage that is the envy of other cities.”
Steve Rotheram, mayor of the wider Liverpool region, said the decision was “a retrograde step that does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground.”
Liverpool City Council said £700 million had been invested in upgrading historic assets within the site in the past few years and a further £800m was due to be spent in the next five years, including on Everton’s move from Goodison Park to the dock area.