Engage has been a member of World Heritage Watch for some years now and has always tried to attend the annual meeting bringing together citizens from countries that have World Heritage Sites at risk as we do in the UK in Liverpool.

The WHW meeting which is to be held in the Paris HQ of UNESCO at their World Heritage Centre will run from 18th to 20th January 2020. The big issue facing Liverpool is now the planning application for the new Everton FC Stadium at Bramley Moore Dock in the WHS part of Peel’s Liverpool Waters scheme. It was made clear to all the major players in the city during the Engage seminar series in 2017 by our three UNESCO speakers that the submission of a planning application would more likely than not mean the removal of the status from the city.

This is not a question of being against development or progress on UNESCO’s part but is consistent with the agreement we entered freely into with UNESCO and signed by the UK Government to preserve and protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the site (see full explanation in WHW Report 2019 p97 below). That means protecting the open water space of the dock and maintaining the legibility of the site as a former dock area (see WHS Supplementary Planning Document adopted by LCC October 2009 Section 4). It is not enough to leave the dock walls untouched as the plans suggest but the site has to be clearly understood by future generations to be the site of a former working dock when Liverpool was at its height as the major port of the British Empire – which these plans don’t appear to respect as the stadium seems to cover most of the dock water space and also spills over onto the dockside.

We shall have to see what happens now but this decision has been made in the full knowledge that there will be serious consequences for the city – which many commentators seem to think will be negligible when compared to the advantage of a new stadium in an iconic location. However we shall have to see what stance the Government takes as this Liverpool decision might well be thought to put at risk all the WHSs in the country if the UK Government seems to UNESCO ambassadors to be incapable of protecting the sites it has formally agreed to protect. Some people wonder what signal it will also send to potential investors in the city who might view the loss of the status as civic negligence and poor decision-making.

You can read Engage’s submissions to the World Heritage Watch Reports below:

WHW Report 2019  p96-99

WHW Report 2018 p123-125

WHW Report 2017 p100-102

There is also a link to a previous article on this website Everton FC at Bramley Moore Dock 28.07.19 

Also in Business Live: Liverpool ‘may not get there’ in fight to retain UNESCO World Heritage status, steering group chief admits HERE 07.11.19 Tom Houghton

Proposed Everton FC Stadium at Bramley Moore Dock, Liverpool