22nd July 2021

Liverpool’s public and private sector business leaders have responded to UNESCO’s decision to delete the city from the list of World Heritage Sites, highlighting the opportunity for new levels of growth and development that this may present.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:

“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.

“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.

“We will be working with Government to examine whether we can 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.

“Our commitment to maintaining and improving our buildings remains as strong as ever and will continue to be a key part of our drive to attract visitors, investors and events.

“I find it incomprehensible that UNESCO would rather Bramley Moore Dock remain a derelict wasteland, rather than making a positive contribution to the city’s future and that of its residents.

“I’ll now be seeking to draw together all the UK heritage bodies in a round table to plan a positive future with further investment.”

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said the decision was “a retrograde step that does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground”.

“Places like Liverpool should not be faced with the binary choice between maintaining heritage status or regenerating left-behind communities and the wealth of jobs and opportunities that come with it,” he said.

Business leaders across Liverpool City Region have told LBN the city will continue to prosper without World Heritage Status with one saying he was ‘absolutely delighted’ at the decision.

Peel L&P, which is overseeing the multi-billion regeneration of both the Liverpool and Wirral waterfront, vowed its work would continue.

Chris Capes, director of development for Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters, said: “Without the World Heritage Site status, Liverpool’s rich history remains.

“Regeneration for this part of the city is vital and, like our partners across the city region, we are focused on delivering it – creating new homes, commercial space, amenities, public realm, leisure facilities and key infrastructure on previously disused brownfield land.

“We will show the world that regeneration and the protection of Liverpool’s heritage can happen together.”

The news of the deletion was welcomed by Frank McKenna, chief executive of business lobby group Downtown in Business, said:

“This gives the city a great opportunity to attract more investors and makes it all the more challenging for those people who want to turn Liverpool into ‘bungalow city’.

Chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said in an ideal world Liverpool would have kept World Heritage Status, “but not at the expense of developing our city”.

“The loss of World Heritage Status is a glancing blow, yet Liverpool remains steady in its pursuit of economic prosperity for the people who live and work here through the creation of jobs and opportunities to broaden our economic base,” he said.

“We have a high-quality visitor economy which is unlikely to be significantly undermined by this misguided decision, and we must move forward with confidence to pursue projects which will further strengthen our economic future without diluting our illustrious past.”

One of Liverpool’s leading architecture practices, Falconer Chester Hall, also waded in. Director Adam Hall said: “Liverpool has a big, dynamic economy that has been successfully re-structured in recent decades and I don’t think this decision will derail the city’s growth.

“I never saw any proof that UNESCO’s accreditation, welcome as it was, was a decisive factor in the city’s booming tourism market, for example. What the city’s growth has shown over the last 20 years is that Liverpool has walked a very careful middle course between conservation and regeneration based on good, modern architecture and a responsive planning regime.

“The city still has regeneration challenges and many historic sites and buildings lend themselves well to re-use. Others, perhaps not, but the need to grow the economy and provide work have to be taken into consideration.  Liverpool will continue to grow and prosper.”

For further information on Liverpool City Region’s £15bn investment opportunity and key sectors click HERE.