A report outlining how Liverpool intends to save its World Heritage Site (WHS) status has been revealed.
UNESCO perceives the main threat to the city’s WHS title to be the proposed development of the Central Docks area in the £5 billion Liverpool Waters scheme.
The Central Docks neighbourhood has been envisaged as a “world class” business and leisure district with over 2 million sq ft of mixed use floorspace including 750,000 sq ft of office space, over 1,000 new waterfront apartments in buildings up to 44 storeys high and a 17-acre public park.
However, the report shows that Peel’s initial outline proposals for Central Docks are now being reviewed and that a new neighbourhood masterplan will take in heritage concerns and planning guidelines on heights of buildings in the district.
Liverpool City Council, together with the government and Historic England, has drafted the Desired State of Conservation Report (DSOCR) which describes the corrective measures Liverpool is proposing to protect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the site which the city hopes will persuade UNESCO to remove the site from its ‘in danger’ list.
Alongside medieval monuments in Kosovo, Liverpool is the only other European site on UNESCO’s ‘in danger’ list – which it was added to in 2012.
The DSOCR will go to the council’s cabinet next Friday (23 February) for endorsement following its recent submission to the government and, if approved, will be submitted to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) for subsequent examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in July.
According to the council, the report focuses on the main issue of how the city needs to balance its projected population and economic growth over the next 15 years, which will see the creation of 35,000 new homes and 30,000 jobs, whilst protecting its WHS.
Alongside the review of building heights at Central Docks, other proposed corrective measures in the DSOCR, all of which are either completed or in progress, are:
- The provision of a comprehensive management plan for the WHS
- Development of a skyline policy for tall buildings
- Future management of the WHS property potentially through the creation of a new trust
- Development and implementation of a WHS interpretation and communication strategy building on the creation of the first WHS ‘Hub’ at the RIBA North Centre including the use of the city’s digital model
- Review of the WHS property boundary with a view to the enhancement/extension of the site
Another measure addresses the likely planning application by Everton Football Club to progress its new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.
The council has stated the application will be dealt with in accordance with national and local planning policy and would need to demonstrate how it benefits the regeneration of the WHS and how its detailed design responds positively to the attributes of OUV of the site.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson says: “Liverpool’s World Heritage status is of great importance to the city, not only in showcasing our unique maritime heritage but in how we can use it to shape our future boosting both our tourism economy and our civic pride.
“This report shows in great detail the lengths Liverpool has already gone and will continue to go, to balance the needs of a growing city whilst protecting our World Heritage status.
“This is a delicate task and involves all the major city stakeholders working together to understand very specific planning issues and creating solutions that works for the city and UNESCO.
“With the support and input of the DDCMS I am sure this collaborative approach means we can all ensure Liverpool’s World Heritage status is secured when the committee meets in July.”
Last summer, Move Commercial’s sister publication Your Move asked experts on both sides of the argument whether Liverpool’s World Heritage title was really worth fighting for.