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Plan to expand Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site

Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) could be expanded to include more historic areas of the city centre under new plans.

A report to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet also recommends exploring the possibility of creating a new trust to manage the World Heritage property.

Liverpool’s current WHS stretches along the waterfront from Royal Albert Dock to the Pier Head and up to Stanley Dock, through the commercial districts and Ropewalks area to the St George’s Quarter.

Next Friday (22 February) the council’s cabinet will discuss proposals for a study to be undertaken into the possibility of extending the WHS boundaries to include Jesse Hartley’s southern docks, Chinatown, Rodney Street (pictured), Canning Street and Hope Street.

Hartley’s southern docks are defined as Queens Dock (opened in 1785), Coburg Dock (Brunswick Basin in 1816 and renamed Coburg in 1840), and Brunswick Dock (1827-1832).

Justifying the expansion, the report reads: “Given the relative early dates of some of these docks, and their evolution, which is instructive, as part of the narrative of the changing nature of the dock estate, there appears to be a strong case for expanding the boundaries of the WHS as far as Brunswick Dock.

On expanding the WHS to include Rodney Street and Canning Street, it adds: “Whilst these areas do not fully conform to the criteria for which Liverpool was inscribed, they are manifestations of the expansion of the city, the role of the Liverpool Corporation in its enlargement, and they are manifestations of the housing constructed to service the population of merchants who helped to create a wealthy port.

On including Chinatown the report goes on to say: “The Chinatown area celebrates the first Chinese population in Europe, and the connections between Liverpool and the far east as part of the Blue Funnel Line, and the cosmopolitan nature of the city, with its strong migration credentials.”

If approved, the feasibility study would be presented for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in July.

At the same meeting, in line with the requirements of the World Heritage Committee, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has to submit a Desired State of Conservation Report (DSOCR) for the removal of Liverpool’s WHS from the ‘in danger’ list.

The report to next week’s cabinet recommends the DSOCR be endorsed as a record of the city’s submission to the government, and subsequently the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the World Heritage Committee.