A Liverpool business leader has renewed his call for the city to hand back it’s World Heritage Status badge to UNESCO.
Frank McKenna, the chief executive of business lobbying organisation Downtown in Business, was responding to reports that Heritage England have objected to Everton Football Clubs plans to develop a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.
“Even a pandemic and the huge economic impact it will have on Liverpool does not register with these people who want to put Liverpool in aspic. They are still content to delay or even stop a major, job creating, regeneration scheme. They are bolstered by the World Heritage Status badge and UNESCO.
“I can’t be the only one who is fed up with the city having to constantly go cap in hand to this faceless, unaccountable body, amending plans, stymying regeneration and pausing progress in order to retain a title that is worth little or nothing in economic, tourism or cultural terms.
“Can the ordinary Liverpudlian understand how an abandoned, derelict part of the city can be considered a ‘heritage site’ that needs to be protected?
“And, at this moment in time particularly, do we want to be sending a signal to international investors that, as well as all the usual planning rules and regulations they have to face to get development plans approved, here in Liverpool there are additional hoops that they have to jump through?
“Whereas Everton Football Club have no option but to build and invest in the city, global investors can take their money anywhere. Why would they choose Liverpool if they know they will have to add into their timings and costs the almost inevitable obstructions from the heritage lobby for any potential development?
“I am all in favour of quality being a watchword for building and design in Liverpool. However, the power and influence that the heritage lobby has in the city is unhealthy. The madness of heritage being used to object to Everton’s iconic scheme can only be fully appreciated if you recognise that the site for the development has been derelict wasteland for decades. It is time to tell UNESCO to take back their vanity badge and give Liverpool have the best possible chance of bouncing back from a crisis that has already seen a huge increase in jobless figures in the city region.”