Its role as a trading powerhouse during the British Empire and the architectural beauty of the port area earned Liverpool a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004. A new football stadium now ensures the city loses again this mention. The strangest thing is that the stadium is not even there yet. It won’t open until 2024 at the earliest.
The United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization – UNESCO for short – today decided to revoke Liverpool’s protected status at a secret meeting in China. The reason for this drastic action is Everton Football Club’s new home stadium, Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium. Much to the chagrin of UNESCO and Liverpool itself.
UNESCO speaks of “irreversible loss”. According to the organization, the Victorian docks on the Liverpool waterfront in particular were heavily “damaged” by the construction of the football stadium. “Its Outstanding Universal Value has been destroyed. There is a significant loss of authenticity and integrity. “
There is no debate over tastes, even for those who love football. The new stadium is by no means cheap. Everton’s new construction plans cost around £ 500million, or around € 570million. In February of this year, the city council approved the construction of the stadium. In March, after reviewing the plans, the UK government also gave the final yes.
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Unesco’s decision is difficult for Liverpool to deal with. A humiliating blow, especially since the city is only the third “monument” to be withdrawn from the heritage. In 2007, the protected habitat of the Arabian Oryx – a type of antelope – was removed because Oman wanted to reduce habitat by 90 percent in favor of economic development.
“Disrespectful human actions have destroyed the value of the region,” UNESCO said. Two years later, the Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany lost its World Heritage status. This was motivated by the construction of a bridge across the nature reserve. For the record, Liverpool do not limit themselves to building the Everton stadium. The port redevelopment plans as a whole do not make sense for UNESCO.
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The cultural organization viewed the port of departure for millions of Irish and British migrants – and African slaves – as “distinctive and unique”. The rich musical history of Liverpool, where the Beatles and others were born, also played a role in the heritage listing. The British government has been repeatedly asked to give “solid guarantees” on the future of the city.
Mayor Joanne Anderson says she is “disappointed”. “I am very disappointed with the decision to withdraw its World Heritage status, a decade after UNESCO’s last visit to the city.” She plans to appeal. “Our world heritage has never been in better shape. It has benefited from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment.
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