Everton FC have now submitted their application for the new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock in Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The question now is will that mean the loss of the status? This will only be resolved by the World Heritage Committee’s meeting in the summer this year.

View all the documents related to the planning application, here, on the City Council’s planning portal »

The planning application went live Friday 21st February 2020, and though it will take some time for many people to start reviewing all the information, some initial comments and links are helpful.

For those interested, as we are, in the heritage value of the dock, the following four documents drawn up by KM Heritage are particularly interesting:

These really are exceptional documents for those interested in the history and heritage of the dock system, and we think they are probably unparalleled in their accuracy and ability to gather together in one place such a wealth of material pertinent to the location and especially the value of the site for future generations.

The document we want to focus on is Appendix 18.2: ICOMOS Assessment (Part 3 of 3) and we would like to draw your attention to some elements of the report:

  • 7.68: The waterbody is clearly an important element of the listed structure’s setting and significance, as is the dock’s interconnection with the surrounding docks. The structures and artefacts surrounding the dock also form part of its setting – to greater and lesser degrees of significance.
  • 7.69: Its contribution to the OUV of the WHS is considered to be Very High.
  • 9.12: Despite the considerable mitigation integrated into the proposals and described above, it is regarded that the impact of the proposal on the significance of the designated heritage asset would be substantial.
  • 9.14: The proposals will encompass all of the dock and replace the majority of the waterbody with the stadium and associated buildings and functions. The impact will be permanent, although technically reversible and will be a major change to the contribution to the OUV of the WHS.
  • 9.15: It is considered that the impact on Bramley‐Moore Dock will be Major Adverse and therefore the overall effect would be Very Large and Adverse.
  • 9.27: The impact on the contribution that the wall makes to the OUV of the WHS would be Minor when the extent of the wall in its totality is taken into consideration.
  • 9.31: The proposed new stadium is also regarded as having a Minor impact on the setting of the wall. The proposals in the backdrop will not fundamentally alter the purpose and function of the wall to provide a barrier.
  • 9.43: It is considered that the impact that the change of use will facilitate (on the Hydraulic Engine House)is a Major Benefit to the building and will lead to a scale and severity of change that would be Very Large and Beneficial.
  • 9.55: The stadium will be a prominent, contemporary, positive new structure, its brick and steel design in keeping with the local vernacular.
  • 9.166: With regard to views across the River Mersey towards the WHS, these are illustrated in views 22, 23 & 24 of the TVIA. In views 23 & 24 – which are those closest to the proposal Site, the Key Landmark Buildings in close proximity to the proposal – the Stanley Dock complex, dominated by the Tobacco Warehouse, and the Victoria Clock Tower – all retain their prominence, integrity and authenticity. The proposal will introduce a structure that is not traditionally ‘dock‐related’ into the dock context. However, the approach to the façade treatment of the stadium – with the brick facades ensuring that the structure has its origins in the warehouse architectural typology ‐ ‘grows out of’ the Dock and its wider context. The stadium will be a prominent, contemporary, positive new structure but its brick and steel design are in keeping with the local vernacular and in keeping with the tradition of strong, muscular buildings that define Liverpool’s prosperity and success.
  • 9.169: The proposals would have an impact on the overall integrity and authenticity of the WHS however it is considered that this impact is Minor. The proposals will lead to a change to key historic building elements, such that the overall asset is slightly different.
  • 9.173: Therefore, it is considered that whilst the proposals would have a Major Adverse impact on heritage assets within the site and a Moderate Adverse impact on the Stanley Dock Conservation Area, the impact on the authenticity and integrity of the whole WHS would be Minor Adverse. The Bramley‐Moore Dock site is one of the series of inter‐linked docks in a part of the WHS that is currently predominantly vacant/derelict and whilst the proposal will significantly modify the Dock and associated heritage assets and elements of its setting, the overall understanding of the dock construction and port management of which it forms part, will still be appreciable and understandable. The proposals would also enable the repair and re‐use (and thus better appreciation of) an important heritage asset that contributes to OUV but has been derelict for decades and open up to the public a part of the WHS that has been privately operated and securely closed.
  • 10.5: As well as considering the impact of the proposals on each asset, it has been assessed that the significance of the effect or overall impact on the overall WHS resulting from the Proposed Development would be Moderate/Large Adverse. This is based on a Minor Adverse Impact on the Very High value attributed to the WHS.
  • 10.6: The proposals offer a considerable number of heritage benefits to the WHS, most notably the repair and viable re‐use of the Hydraulic Engine House and also opening up this part of the WHS to the general public to allow for a greater appreciation of its value. Other substantial benefits that derive from the proposal are outlined in the Heritage Statement and the Planning Statement.

DSOCR 04.02.20 This is the Desired State of Conservation Report submitted by the UK Government DCMS but without any reference to the Everton FC/Bramley Moore Dock planning application. It does however reference the new proposals for North Shore Vision recently released.

It is not clear to Engage if the above consultant’s report has the backing or agreement of ICOMOS but nonetheless it seems to place the proposed stadium in a very favourable position with regard to the OUV of the entire WHS. Engage was mandated in 2017 by a unanimous vote of 150 people at the final seminar in our WHS series that the UNESCO status was worth fighting for. This is something we have constantly referred to since then and it has concentrated minds as we raise the importance and significance of the status to the city and many of the residents who live within the designated WHS boundary.

However we also realise the need for development and regeneration and the architectural value of the new stadium proposal. It now remains to be seen what the UK Government and UNESCO ambassadors will make of the proposals now that they are in the public domain. It is worth noting that the DSOCR states quite clearly that: “Where necessary the State Party will call in development proposals for determination at the national level rather than by LCC.”