The UN’s cultural agency UNESCO on Wednesday voted narrowly to remove Liverpool’s waterfront from its list of world heritage sites, citing concerns about overdevelopment, including plans for a new football stadium. At committee talks chaired by China, 13 delegates voted in favour of the proposal and five against — just one more than the two-thirds majority required to delete a site from the global list.
Liverpool becomes only the third site to lose its World Heritage status since the list began in 1978, the other two being Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in 2007 and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany in 2009.
The city was awarded the much-coveted title in 2004 in recognition of its historical and architectural impact, joining places including the Taj Mahal, Egypt’s Pyramids and Canterbury Cathedral. However, a report in June by the World Heritage Committee said developments on the city’s waterfront had resulted in “irreversible loss of attributes”.
A World Heritage Site is a location with an “outstanding universal value”. This signifies “cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity”.