(CNN) — It’s famous for its docks, the Beatles and its two world-famous football teams — but now Liverpool is enjoying a different kind of fame.
The port city in northwest England – which built much of its fortune from slavery – has been stripped of its coveted UNESCO World Heritage status after a global committee decided that new developments in the city have taken too much of their historic toll. clothing fabric.
The decision was made by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, which is currently meeting in Fuzhou, China.
Previously, Liverpool was one of 53 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List – a sort of watchlist that allows authorities to seek global solutions to preserve the heritage at stake.
It has been on the endangered list since 2012, and was first added to the World Heritage List in 2004 – a status accorded to other major tourist destinations, including Machu Picchu in Peru, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the Greek Acropolis.
UNESCO said in a statement that the city had been “deleted” from the list “because of the irreversible loss of attributes that convey the extraordinary universal value of the property.”
It called the development of Liverpool Waters – a decades-long planned regeneration of the city’s famous docks – “damaging the authenticity and integrity of the site.”
The development’s proposal – which includes apartments, offices, shops and hotels in the Old Port – was responsible for Liverpool’s entry on the endangered list in 2012.
But locals say it has also been a crucial project in providing local jobs.
A new stadium for Everton football team proposed for the Bramley-Moore docks was also cited by UNESCO as a factor for delisting.
The committee noted their ‘regret’ and wrote that the ‘state party has not complied with the committee’s repeated requests’.
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson has said she is “hugely disappointed and concerned” by the decision, claiming that UNESCO has not fully evaluated the city in “ten years”, calling the decision “completely wrong”.
“Our World Heritage Site has never been in better shape and has benefited from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in dozens of landmark buildings and public domains,” she added.
“We will work with the government to see if we can appeal, but come what may, Liverpool will always remain a World Heritage city. We have a beautiful waterfront and incredible built heritage that other cities envy.
“Our commitment to maintaining and improving our buildings remains strong and will continue to be an important part of our drive to attract visitors, along with recreation, shopping and events.”
“I find it incomprehensible that UNESCO would prefer Bramley Moore Dock to remain a wasteland, rather than make a positive contribution to the future of the city and that of its residents.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, also condemned the move, calling it a “history step that does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground”.
“Places like Liverpool should not be faced with the binary choice between preserving heritage status or regenerating abandoned communities – and the wealth of jobs and opportunities that come with it,” he said in a statement.
“Yes, there is a new development, but the forest of skyscrapers that set off alarm bells in the first place just didn’t materialize.
“UNESCO called for a moratorium on city center development. They were told this was in violation of UK planning law.
“Because we haven’t had a full UNESCO mission visit since 2011, invitations have been made continuously over the past ten years to break this deadlock.”
UNESCO says the last visit was in 2015 — and that Isabelle Anatole Gabrielle, head of the World Heritage Center’s Europe and North America desk, also visited in 2017 to meet city council representatives. Liverpool insist, however, that neither were “full” visits.
Liverpool is the third World Heritage Site to be removed from the list, after the Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany, and the Arab Oryz Shrine in Oman.
“Any delisting from the World Heritage List is a loss to the international community and to the internationally shared values and obligations under the World Heritage Convention,” UNESCO said in a statement.
The committee will evaluate whether world icons such as Venice and the Great Barrier Reef should be placed on the In Danger list.