UNESCO has struck Liverpool from the World Heritage List, citing irreparable damage by the proposed Liverpool Waters development at the city’s historic docks.


Jessica Mairs


The decision to remove Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City from the list was made at a meeting of the World Heritage Committee held online and by members in Fuzhou. The decision was based the encroachment of the £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters development on the city’s historic docks. 

Six trading sites across the city were originally added to the World Heritage List in 2004, but entered onto the List of World Heritage in Danger just eight years later in 2012 as the waterfront was deemed under risk of ruin due to the Liverpool Waters scheme. The committee first discussed the removal of the listing in 2017 as the masterplan developed to include a pair of tall towers.

“The project has since gone ahead along with other developments both inside the site and in its buffer zone. The Committee considers that these constructions are detrimental to the site’s authenticity and integrity,” said a statement from the committee.

Commenting on the development’s  Chris Capes, the Director of Development for Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters said: “UNESCO’s decision to remove Liverpool from its list of World Heritage Sites is very disappointing, particularly given the considerable investment that the city has put into protecting and improving its heritage sites in recent years.”

“Regeneration for this part of the city is vital and, like our partners across the city region, we are focused on delivering it – creating new homes, commercial space, amenities, public realm, leisure facilities and key infrastructure on previously disused brownfield land,” he continued. 

Liverpool is among three sites – Elbe Valley in Dresden in Germany and the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman – to be deleted from the World Heritage List.

“Any deletion from the World Heritage List is a loss to the international community and to the internationally shared values and commitments under the World Heritage Convention,” said the committee.