Liverpool has set up a special taskforce to examine how the city can maintain its UNESCO World Heritage status.
The Liverpool World Heritage Board has been established in part to “reset the relationship with UNESCO” – the agency which will consider Liverpool’s deletion from the World Heritage list at its next summit.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has informed heritage minister John Glen MP of the establishment of the board in a bid to work closer with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
Sir David Henshaw, who was the chief executive at Liverpool City Council when the city was named a World Heritage Site (WHS) in 2004, has been chosen to lead a team of experts which includes Sir Neil Cossons, former chair of English Heritage.
Joining Sir David and Sir Neil on the board – which met for the first time yesterday (2 October) – are: Claire Dove, chief executive of Blackburn House Group; Professor Gerald Pillay, vice chancellor of Hope University; Professor John Belchem, emeritus professor at University of Liverpool; and Professor Michael Parkinson, associate pro vice chancellor for civic engagement of the University of Liverpool,
The council says more appointments are to be made in the coming weeks.
In a letter to the heritage minister, who recently visited Liverpool to discuss the issue of its World Heritage status, Mayor Anderson says: “We greatly value our World Heritage status and recognise that it brings huge benefits in terms of the city’s economy, identity and self-esteem.
“With the impact of austerity we have lost focus on communicating the importance of those benefits as effectively as we previously did.
“I welcome the UNESCO challenge as it will enable us to highlight all the city’s achievements and re-energise the heritage agenda which has been less visible than I would have liked.
“I have established a Liverpool World Heritage Board to review our position, involve all the city stakeholders and engage directly with UNESCO with objective or reaching agreement on the way forward.
“With the support and input of the DCMS I’m sure this approach can ensure Liverpool’s World Heritage status is secured.”
At a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Krakow this July, the commission expressed its “deep concern” that a number of Liverpool projects, including Peel’s Liverpool Waters scheme, have been approved which could have “potentially highly adverse and irreversible impacts” on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of its WHS.
Unless the offending planning approvals are reversed and the scale and design of Liverpool Waters radically altered, the committee concluded that Liverpool’s status on the WHS list will be considered for deletion at its 42nd session next year.