Liverpool faces up to world heritage removal threat with taskforce

Guardian website 061017The mayor of Liverpool has created a taskforce to work to ‘reset’ its relationship with UNESCO after the body threatened to remove the city’s world heritage status.

The Guardian writes:

Writing to the heritage minister, John Glen, to inform him of the establishment of the taskforce, the Liverpool mayor, Joe Anderson, said he hoped the group could ‘reset the relationship with Unesco’. He said austerity had caused the city to lose focus on communicating the benefits that world heritage status brought to the economy, identity and self-esteem of Liverpool. But the council claims that almost £750m has been invested in historic assets within the Unesco-approved site, including the upgrade of 37 listed buildings since 2012.

… The taskforce is headed by Sir David Henshaw, who was the chief executive at Liverpool city council when the city received the status in 2004, and includes Sir Neil Cossons, a former chair of English Heritage.

Henshaw, the chairman of National Museums Liverpool, said the city’s track record in preserving its unique heritage was ‘beyond question’.

He said: ‘What has been unfortunate is that the need for economic growth and job creation has clouded the fact that heritage is actually a key ingredient in achieving those goals.  Liverpool has achieved a huge amount since 2004 in investing in its historic assets, but has somewhere along the way failed to demonstrate how this is shaping the city’s future.’

In his letter, Anderson wrote: ‘I welcome the Unesco challenge as it will enable us to highlight all the city’s achievements and re-energise the heritage agenda, which has been less visible than I would have liked.

I have established a Liverpool world heritage board to review our position, involve all the city stakeholders, and engage directly with Unesco with the objective of reaching agreement on the way forward. With the support and input of the [Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport] I am sure this approach can ensure Liverpool’s world heritage status is secured.’

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