Christmas D-day for Liverpool’s World Heritage Site verdict
LIVERPOOL will discover whether Unesco inspectors believe the city should be stripped of its World Heritage Site status by Christmas.
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Unesco is sending a monitoring mission to Liverpool because it is concerned about the impact of Peel Holdings’ £5.5bn Liverpool Waters skyscraper scheme to regenerate the city’s northern docklands.
It has warned the city could lose its World Heritage status if the project is given planning permission. It has now been confirmed the three-day mission will arrive on Monday, November 14.
According to the terms of reference, the mission will report its findings by December 23 at the latest.
Last night heritage campaigner Wayne Colquhoun, who was instrumental in persuading Unesco to send its inspectors, said he hoped they would not repeat “past mistakes”.
The inspectors being sent are Ron van Oers and Patricia Alberth from Unesco – the body which runs World Heritage Sites(WHS) – and Mr Giancarlo Barbato, an Italian Conservation Architect from ICOMOS, the International Committee on Monuments and Statues.
Mr van Oers was a member of a similar mission that visited Liverpool in 2006 and decided the WHS was not compromised by new developments at the city’s Pier Head which included the three granite blocks, which are now nearing completion.
Mr Colquhoun said: “I am afraid they put a blindfold on him because of what Unesco then allowed to be done to the central core of the World Heritage Site at the Pier Head – the very symbol of Liverpool – has been an architectural disaster.
“The last time I gave as much respect as I could to the monitoring mission and they let us down badly.
“I would like this monitoring mission to give Liverpool advice on how to protect and enhance the World Heritage Site with sustainable development. “The reason they are here is because we persuaded them it is a matter of urgency.” He said he was concerned the inspectors would be “sweet talked” by the city council and Peel Holdings.
Mr Colquhoun insisted he is not against developing the northern docklands but insists the proposals are not in keeping with Liverpool’s built environment.
He also made it clear he does not want Liverpool to lose its WHS but wants to see it better managed.
“I am in favour of developing the area but with a sustainable development like in Amsterdam that builds development around its waterways in a humane manner.”
The terms of reference state that the mission will assess the overall state of conservation and factors affecting the outstanding universal value of Liverpool’s WHS.
It will have “particular regard” to the proposed development of Liverpool Waters with its dense, high and mid-rise buildings.
The inspectors will also examine progress that has been made since the 2006 Unesco mission and the city’s overall development strategies, “existing planning procedures and management systems and their effectiveness for the property and its setting”.
The findings of the mission will be reported to the World Heritage Centre by December 23 at the latest in the report not exceeding 10 pages.
Liverpool has delayed making a decision on Peel’s planning application until after the visit.
Earlier this week the Daily Post revealed a campaign committee has been set up, by Liverpool council and Peel Holdings, to persuade Unesco officials not to strip Liverpool of its World Heritage Site status.
David Bartlett front pages todays news and it is re-assuring to note that the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo are, now, maybe, interested in creating a fair debate around the Unesco Monitoring Mission.
Thats all we have ever asked and lets hope it continues, in the interests of an equality of arms, against the might of PR companies with vested interests that the likes of Peel Holdings can employ.
And lets not forget the City Council are compliant to the extreme with Peel Holdings vision to create Shanghai-On-Mersey, without giving the citizens of the city.......their say.
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