Liverpool World Heritage Status: Unesco inspectors visit
- 14 November 2011
- From the section Liverpool
The prospect of Liverpool losing its Unesco World Heritage Status is "not a realistic scenario", the city's heritage officer has said.
The UN cultural body has expressed its "extreme concern" about plans to redevelop the city's north docks.
A team of inspectors are on a three-day monitoring visit to Liverpool and will submit a report in early-2012.
John Hinchcliffe, Liverpool world heritage officer, said there had been an "over dramatisation" of the visit.
The Unesco inspectors will be looking at plans submitted by Peel Holdings for a development of high-rise buildings including offices, shops and restaurants in the £5.5BN Liverpool Waters scheme, they will also examine how the city is managing the heritage site.
The organisation has previously urged the city "to ensure that these proposals are not approved, as failure to do so could lead to consideration of the loss of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property."
Liverpool was awarded World Heritage status in 2004, ranking it alongside the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge.
The city will submit an updated report on the plans for consideration by Unesco in 2012.
Mr Hinchcliffe said: "The decisions are not going to be made today or over the next three days, it's part of a long process of assessing how Liverpool is managing the World Heritage Site.
"We've brought about massive improvements to the waterfront, created a whole range of attractions along the waterfront from the arena right up to the Pier Head.
"Many of the buildings which are essential to Liverpool's outstanding and universal value have had comprehensive conservation programmes."
Pam Wiltshire, head of visitor economy and development at the Mersey Partnership said: "Tourism is one of the big success stories of the city in recent years. It's now worth £3bn a year to the economy, 42,000 jobs depend on it.
"The World Heritage Site status ranked alongside the European Capital of Culture status as a major reason for visitors to come to the city.
"I don't think there's any danger that we will lose it. We are all committed to working together to protect that universal outstanding value of the site.
"It's just a matter of balance between the needs of the World Heritage Site and the need to continue to regenerate and develop our economy."