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UNESCO removes Liverpool from world heritage list


LIVERPOOL: The UN cultural agency UNESCO voted narrowly on Wednesday to remove Liverpool’s waterfront from its list of world heritage sites, citing concerns about overdevelopment, including plans for a new football stadium .
In committee talks chaired by China, 13 delegates voted in favor of the proposal and five against, just one more than the two-thirds majority required to remove a site from the global list.
“It means that the site of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City it is removed from the World Heritage List, “said Tian Xuejun, Chairman of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
It is only the third such removal, after previous decisions affecting Oman and Germany, and after two days of committee discussions that exposed tensions over how cities around the world can preserve their past while moving forward. .
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram called it “a retrograde step” taken by officials “on the other side of the world.”
“Places like Liverpool should not be faced with the binary choice between maintaining heritage status or regenerating the communities left behind, and the sheer amount of jobs and opportunities that come with it,” he said.
Liverpool City Council cabinet member Harry Doyle told AFP he was “extremely disappointed by the results” but said the city’s heritage “is still here to stay.”
“We are even more disappointed that UNESCO turned down our offer to come to the city and see for themselves the work that is being done,” said Doyle.
“They have made this decision in isolation in the middle of the world.”
The UK government also expressed disappointment with the decision, saying Liverpool “still deserves its world heritage status”.
But UNESCO delegates heard that the redevelopment plans, including the skyscrapers, would “irreversibly damage” the port’s heritage in north-west England.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites, which advises UNESCO on the heritage listing, said the UK government had been “repeatedly asked” to provide stronger guarantees about the city’s future.
The new stadium planned for the Everton football club was approved by the government without any public inquiry and “is the most recent example of a major project that is completely contrary” to UNESCO’s goals, he said.
Several countries had backed the UK, agreed it would be a “radical” step amid the coronavirus pandemic, and called for more time for a new municipal council elected in May.
A corruption scandal linked to the financing of regeneration had engulfed the leaders of the old city, prompting the national government to intervene temporarily before local elections in May.
Those who argued against the delisting of Liverpool from the list included Australia, whose very inclusion in the Great Barrier Reef is threatened in UNESCO deliberations this year.
Norway, by contrast, said that while it was “painfully aware” of the conflicts between development and heritage preservation, a “delicate balance” was possible, which was lacking in Liverpool.
Liverpool’s coastline and docks were included in the UNESCO list in 2004, after an ambitious regeneration after decades of decline in one of the cradles of the British Industrial Revolution.
But since 2012, the agency has clashed with UK officials over development. He had urged the city to limit building heights and reconsider the proposed new stadium for Everton on an abandoned dock site, warning of “a significant loss of its authenticity and integrity.”
The boardwalk is the site of a statue honoring the four members of The Beatles, the most famous cultural export from a city rich in musical history.
Allan Ellis, a British tourist visiting the city, dismissed UNESCO’s decision.
“The important thing is the real history of Liverpool,” he told AFP. “People don’t come here because it’s UNESCO. They come here because that’s where the Beatles came from.”

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