The UN’s cultural agency UNESCO has removed the English city of Liverpool from its list of world heritage sites, citing concerns about the rapid development including plans for a new football stadium undermining the attractiveness of its Victorian docks.
Liverpool was named a World Heritage Site by the United Nation’s cultural organisation in 2004, joining landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
It became the third place to be removed from the prestigious list on Wednesday after the UN’s cultural agency committee in China voted narrowly to support the proposal. 13 delegates voted in favour of the proposal and five against — just one more than the two-thirds majority required to delete a site from the global list.
“It means that the site of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City is deleted from the World Heritage List,” Tian Xuejun, chairman of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, declared.
UNESCO said the new buildings in Liverpool were undermining the city’s “authenticity and integrity”.
Joanne Anderson, the Liverpool mayor, said the decision was “incomprehensible” and she hopes to appeal.
“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.
“We will be working with government to examine whether we can appeal.”
The UK government has also said it was “extremely disappointed” in the decision and Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram called it “a retrograde step” taken by officials “on the other side of the world”.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites, which advises UNESCO on the heritage list, said the UK government had been “repeatedly requested” to come up with stronger assurances about the city’s future.
Plans for Everton football club’s new stadium on part of the former docks were approved earlier this year despite objections from conservation bodies.