One of the original signatories of Liverpool’s World Heritage Status agreement with UNESCO has said the accolade has become more of a hinderance than a help to the city.
David Wade Smith, the chairman of Downtown in Business, Liverpool, was commenting on reports that Liverpool is to be ‘deleted’ from the World Heritage site list.
The business leader said:
“Winning UNESCO World Heritage Status (WHS) in 2004 marked a major mile stone at the beginning of Liverpool’s remarkable and miraculous 21st Century renaissance.
“All too often, however, awards, titles and status prove to be the killer of ambition. They can result in dampening spirits and draining the oxygen from the atmosphere that’s so vital for a thriving culture of creativity and enterprise.
“So it is with Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Status.
“The title was awarded in recognition of the City’s stunning 18th, 19th and early 20th century architecture. From the extensive Waterfront, up along Water Street, Castle Street, Dale Street, William Brown Street and on up to Hope Street and the Georgian Quarter. A city with more listed buildings than any other City outside of London.
What a heritage! A heritage built on international and global mercantile achievements.”
Wade Smith continued:
“So, what of the future?
How does Liverpool move forward? Whilst international trade and commerce are still vitally important; the future is digital, online and….‘working from home?’.
The future is about leisure, sport, entertainment, media and marketing. It’s about Liverpool as a city of learning and a centre of excellence for health and well-being.
Liverpool’s renaissance as a capital of culture, a safe city, UNESCO World Music City and the number 1 visited city outside London and Edinburgh are all just a few of the scholarship prizes we have amassed in recent years.
Whilst it may be possible for UNESCO to take away our WHS ‘badge’, it is impossible for them to erase our ownership of one of the most architecturally beautiful Cities in the World. “We must ensure that the next generation, with a hand in the future, are not held hostage by this ‘status’ awarded by an institution whose feet appear to be firmly stuck in the past.”