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Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Commercial development
  • Governance
  • High impact research / monitoring activities
  • Housing
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Society's valuing of heritage
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Governance: Lack of overall management of new developments
  • High impact research/monitoring activities: Lack of analysis and description of the townscape characteristics relevant to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and important views related to the property and its buffer zone
  • Legal framework: Lack of clearly established maximum heights for new developments, for the backdrops of the World Heritage areas as well as along the waterfront
  • Social/cultural uses of heritage: Society’s valuing of heritage, lack of awareness of developers, building professionals and the wider public about the World Heritage property, its Outstanding Universal Value and requirements under the World Heritage Convention
  • Buildings and development: Commercial development, housing, interpretative and visitor facilities
  • Lack of adequate Management system/management plan
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

The proposed development of "Liverpool Waters" 

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress 

Corrective Measures for the property

In progress

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
In progress
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

October 2006: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2011: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2015: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 29 January 2016, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/documents/, which addresses issues raised by the World Heritage Committee in relation to the Liverpool Waters development project and confirms the commitment of all authorities involved and the developer of the project to safeguard the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and to put in place measures to address the concerns raised by the Committee. The report summarizes the progress made in revising the Management Plan, and the Local Plan to update the necessary policies for the protection of the OUV.

The report notes the need to clarify some of the issues raised by the 24-25 February 2015 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission (report available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/documents/) to ensure that the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) will be developed in line with the mission’s findings and the World Heritage Committee’s requests, regarding integrating the development vision in the management system.

The State Party proposes to develop the DSCOR in conjunction with the review of the Site Management, the revision of the Supplementary Planning Document and the approval of the Local Plan. Those documents will be submitted in 2017 for approval by the State Party by 2018. Public consultation will start in 2016. The DSCOR will include the measures identified in 2015, including detailed neighbourhood master plans and “reserved matters” applications. The State Party considers that focusing on the planning process will be more effective than setting out a revised vision of the Liverpool Waters that would be susceptible to change before the expiry of the existing permission in 2042.

Furthermore, the report states that a moratorium is in place for the Liverpool Central Docks, but suggests that the Committee has misunderstood the agreement reached during the Advisory mission that there should be a moratorium on developments in the Central Docks neighbourhood only and not the whole of the World Heritage property. Therefore, planning decisions have continued to be taken for temporary “meanwhile uses” and schemes to repair and reuse historic buildings. The report provided assurance that decisions taken did no harm to the OUV.

The report also summarizes the progress made in improving the state of conservation of the property through the repair and reuse of a number of historic buildings previously at risk, and the efforts in promoting wider understanding of the property. It finally describes international cooperation within the URBACT network led by Naples to share best practices.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The report submitted by the State Party confirms that the serious concern expressed by the World Heritage Committee over the potential threat of the Liverpool Waters development scheme on the OUV is recognized by all the authorities and stakeholders.

Though there is progress, to date the City Council has not yet completed the comprehensive measures to eliminate the threats to the OUV. In particular, the issue of the mid- and high-rise buildings has yet to be addressed at the Liverpool Waters development project, or on various other development projects within the property. The gap between the obligations of the State Party in safeguarding the OUV and the Liverpool City Council in addressing appropriate planning mechanisms integrating the protection of the OUV is still to be resolved. At the current stage of the planning process, this can only be settled with pro-active negotiations among the three principal stakeholders (Liverpool City Council, the developer and English Heritage).

The State Party should be commended for the moratorium it has established in the Central Docks, although this does not cover the whole of the central area. It is, furthermore, noted that the State Party is making efforts to set up strong planning control mechanisms and to seek consistency and an approach linking the strategic development vision to a regulatory planning document, which provides clear legal guidelines to protect the OUV of the property. This approach should include attention to urban form, syntax, and views, and define a three-dimensional programmatic envelope indicating minimum and maximum heights, which in turn will help developers design their projects accordingly. The Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011) could be useful in developing this approach.

The moratorium within the Central Docks should be maintained until the DSOCR, including corrective measures, has been adopted by the Committee. Furthermore, work within the rest of the property and the buffer zone that may affect the OUV should be strictly limited to repair, reuse and maintenance, in addition to small scale projects, until such adoption.

It is recommended that the Committee remind the State Party that the DSOCR is a framework document which defines the state of conservation that a property must reach in order to demonstrate that it is no longer threatened and can be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Corrective Measures are the necessary steps to be taken to reach the DSOCR and may contain measures to improve planning processes. The DSOCR should be used to guide the implementation of the agreed corrective measures.

Therefore, the submission of the final draft of the DSOCR by the State Party should come prior to the finalization and approval of the necessary planning tools and regulatory framework, as these should be part of the corrective measures (the 2018 timeline for the approval of the Local Plan and revised Management plan should then be part of the agreed implementation plan for the corrective measures). The DSOCR should be based on the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies’ note from April 2013 and on the State Party’s reply of April 2014, and should indicate the measures as stated in Decision 39 COM 7A.43. It is therefore recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to finalize the DSOCR by 1 December 2016, as requested in 39 COM 7A.43.

In view of the above analysis, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7A.31
Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (C 1150)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.43, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015) as well as Decisions 36 COM 7B.93 (Saint Petersburg, 2012), 37 COM 7A.35 (Phnom Penh, 2013) and 38 COM 7A.19 (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes that all stakeholders recognize the serious concerns of the World Heritage Committee over the potential threat of the Liverpool Waters development scheme to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  4. Recalls the conclusions of the 2015 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission, in particular the need to reduce the urban density and height of the proposed development from the height maximums granted for the Liverpool Waters project, and also notes the need for a global approach, linking the strategic development vision to a regulatory planning document, which provides clear legal guidelines to protect the OUV of the property, and in turn helps developers design their projects accordingly;
  5. Although noting that the State Party proposes to develop the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and the Liverpool Local Plan and Master Plan in tandem, and that they will not be approved before 2018, recalls however that the DSOCR is a tool and framework document which defines the state of conservation that a property must reach in order to demonstrate that it is no longer threatened by ascertained or potential serious and specific danger and to enable its removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger (the submission of the final draft of the DSOCR by the State Party and its approval by the Committee should come prior to the finalization and approval of the necessary planning tools and regulatory framework), and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit the final draft of the DSOCR to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2016, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies as requested in Decision 39 COM 7A.43, and to include the approval of the Local Plan and the revised Management plan as part of the agreed implementation plan for the corrective measures;
  6. Further notes the confirmation from the State Party that a moratorium remains in place for the Liverpool Central Docks, but requests the State Party to ensure that only repair and reuse of historic buildings, maintenance works and small scale projects should receive permission within the rest of the property until the DSOCR is finalized and adopted;
  7. Notes furthermore the submission by the State Party on 8 July 2016 of new information about two projects: Princes Reach, Princes Dock, Liverpool and Proposed Student Residences in Skelhorne Street, Liverpool and also requests the State Party to ensure that neither project receives project approval, until the DSOCR has been finalized and adopted;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit the draft Local Plan and Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before either document is considered for adoption by either Liverpool City Council or the State Party, and to submit the final Local Plan and Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2017, a progress report on the elaboration of the Liverpool Local Plan, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, it being understood that no new detailed plans affecting the property will be approved by either Liverpool City Council or the State Party before the DSOCR is officially adopted by the Committee;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  11. Decides to retain Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) on the List of World Heritage in Danger, with the possibility of deletion of the property from the World Heritage List in the absence of timely implementation of the above recommendations.
40 COM 8C.2
Update of the list of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 40 COM 7A.26)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 40 COM 7A.27)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 40 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 40 COM 7A.1)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 40 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 40 COM 7A.9)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 40 COM 7A.28)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.48)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 40 COM 7A.10)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.11)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 40 COM 7A.12)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 40 COM 7A.13)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 40 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 40 COM 7A.6)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 40 COM 7A.7)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 40 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 40 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 40 COM 7A.15)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 40 COM 7A.3)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 40 COM 7A.4)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 40 COM 7A. 30)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 40 COM 7A.49)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 40 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 40 COM 7A.17)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 40 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 40 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 40 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 40 COM 7A.21)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 40 COM 7A.8)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 40 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.47)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.50)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 40 COM 7A.5)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 40 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 40 COM 7A.24)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 40 COM 7A.25).
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.31

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.43, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Notes that all stakeholders recognize the serious concerns of the World Heritage Committee over the potential threat of the Liverpool Waters development scheme to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  4. Recalls the conclusions of the 2015 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission, in particular the need to reduce the urban density and height of the proposed development from the height maximums granted for the Liverpool Waters project, and also notes the need for a global approach, linking the strategic development vision to a regulatory planning document, which provides clear legal guidelines to protect the OUV of the property, and in turn helps developers design their projects accordingly;
  5. Although noting that the State Party proposes to develop the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and the Liverpool Local Plan and Master Plan in tandem, and that they will not be approved before 2018, recalls however that the DSCOR is a tool and framework document which defines the state of conservation that a property must reach in order to demonstrate that it is no longer threatened by ascertained or potential serious and specific danger and to enable its removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger (the submission of the final draft of the DSOCR by the State Party and its approval by the Committee should come prior to the finalization and approval of the necessary planning tools and regulatory framework), and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit the final draft of the DSOCR to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2016, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies as requested in Decision 39 COM 7A.43, and to include the approval of the Local Plan and the revised Management plan as part of the agreed implementation plan for the corrective measures;
  6. Further notes the confirmation from the State Party that a moratorium remains in place for the Liverpool Central Docks, but requests the State Party to ensure that only repair and reuse of historic buildings, maintenance works and small scale projects should receive permission within the rest of the property until the DSOCR is finalized and adopted;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit the draft Local Plan and Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before either document is considered for adoption by either Liverpool City Council or the State Party, and to submit the final Local Plan and Master Plan to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2017, a progress report on the elaboration of the Liverpool Local Plan, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, it being understood that no new detailed plans affecting the property will be approved by either Liverpool City Council or the State Party before the DSOCR is officially adopted by the Committee;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  10. Decides to retain Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Date of Inscription: 2004
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2012-2021
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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