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World Heritage plan to be approved

The state of conservation of Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City World Heritage Site (WHS) is at its best for decades, according to a new report.

The city has published a survey showing that almost £750m has been invested into historic assets within the UNESCO approved site including the upgrade of 37 listed buildings.

Now Liverpool City Council’s cabinet is set to endorse a new management plan to further enhance conversation efforts and visitor appeal which, once approved, will be sent to the World Heritage Committee at its next meeting in July.

The management plan, which has been prepared by heritage consultants, LOCUS Consulting, in consultation with Historic England and the public, is one of the corrective measures the City Council has agreed with UNESCO to remove the site from the list of ‘World Heritage In Danger’.

The plan, which is based on five key themes (see below) includes guidance aimed at developers to explain the attributes of the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of the site and the conservation and management requirements under the World Heritage Convention.

The cabinet report, which will be discussed on Friday, 21 April, highlights the efforts the city has invested in conservation and points out that the council’s “Buildings at Risk” programme continues to be the most successful project of its type in England – with a 75% reduction in ‘at risk’ buildings in the past decade.

Liverpool has also recently been recognised as a world leader in sustainable heritage regeneration. It has been awarded “Role Model” status and is part of Europe’s largest sustainable Heritage project Horizon 2020.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool has made great strides to protect its World Heritage Site and in many ways the city has set a new bar in conservation efforts. We recognise more needs to be done to promote its appeal and raise awareness with the public and developers and this new management plan is an important step.

“Liverpool is a city undergoing a £11bn renaissance and we need to find the right balance where regeneration and conservation can complement each other. The Stanley Dock complex is a great example of how that can be achieved and I’m sure this plan sets out the right guidelines to ensure that template is adopted across the World Heritage Site.”

Liverpool’s WHS management plan’s five key aims are:

AIM 1: Protect, conserve and develop – Secure a sustainable future for the Outstanding Universal Value of the WHS through a confident and constructive approach to heritage-led regeneration.

AIM 2: Understand – Improve understanding of the WHS and what makes it a special, unique and a powerful asset, securing it a leading role in Liverpool’s future.

AIM 3: Connect – Ensure that the entire WHS is accessible to everyone, with a high profile as a valued and fundamental element of the city’s cultural heritage.

AIM 4: Capitalise – Maximise the benefits the WHS brings to the city, using it more effectively as a lever for investment and to promote the Liverpool as a destination to live, visit, study and do business.

AIM 5: Govern – Resource and strengthen the management of the WHS and provide leadership that can secure it greater profile and influence in the city.

• Liverpool’s WHS management plan will be made available at liverpool.gov.uk/worldheritage if approved at the Cabinet meeting on April 21.

Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City World Heritage Site comprises six distinct Character Areas and a Buffer Zone:

Area 1: The Pier Head
Area 2: The Albert Dock Conservation Area
Area 3: The Stanley Dock Conservation Area
Area 4: The Commercial District/Castle Street, Dale Street and Old Hall Street Conservation Area
Area 5: ‘The Cultural Quarter’ / William Brown Street Conservation Area
Area 6: The Merchants’ Quarter/Lower Duke Street Conservation Area

Buffer Zone: The WHS Buffer Zone surrounds the entire WHS and is formed around key visual and townscape relationships between the property and adjoining areas, and areas with historical associations with the World Heritage Site.