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Liverpool World Heritage Site stays on danger list

'Council's decision on Heaps rice mill will show just how much it respects city's history'

Written by . Published on July 22nd 2014.


Liverpool World Heritage Site stays on danger list
 

LIVERPOOL'S World Heritage Site is to stay on Unesco’s "at risk" list at least until next year. The coveted cultural status was given to Liverpool in 2004 to celebrate its legacy as a merchant shipping port. 

But the decision, three years ago, to give outline planning permission for Peel Holding’s £5bn Liverpool Waters scheme saw Liverpool being placed on the proverbial naughty step.
 
Since then, moves have been made to reconcile the proposed development of the abandoned Central Docks system with the duty to protect and preserve the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
Steps taken so far were reported to the latest meeting of the World Heritage Committee, but the committee decide Liverpool’s name should remain on the At-Risk Register.
 
Instead the committee have asked for a report to be filed by next February so the issue can be examined again.
 
Heritage campaigner Wayne Colquhoun believes the fate of demolition-threatened Heaps rice mill will be a litmus test of the city’s resolve to protect and preserve its history.
 
“As an ever changing city, Liverpool should welcome developments, but those developments ought to respect our unique status. We could be clever and bring in world-class architects to create things that would really put Liverpool centre stage on the global map.
 
“Heap’s rice mill is older than the Albert Dock system and it is sad there is even talk of it coming down. This will really be a test of the city council’s credibility in the way it respects and protects buildings that reflect our mercantile and maritime history.”
 
The granting of outline planning permission to Peel for Liverpool Waters does not in itself pose a threat to the WHS status, but Unesco wants to hear details how it proposes to go from here. 
 
Some observers say the debate sparked by the latest meeting of the World Heritage Committee's, in Doha, is a way of mediating what is happening in Liverpool. The hope is enough will be done to eventually remove the city from the risk list. 
 
When Liverpool was granted World Heritage Status it joined an elite list that included the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids.
 
Ironically it was added to the ‘at risk’ register at the same time as WHS sites in troubled Syria.
Conservationists view Liverpool Waters as a nightmare attack on a World Heritage Site, with a Manhattan style skyline wrecking its epicentre. Government watchdog English Heritage and CABE have also criticised the proposed project.
 

In their own words...

The Docks 

Within the last few days the World Heritage Committee has released details of its deliberations about Liverpool’s WHS.

 It requests the "State Party":

* Submit comprehensive documentation for any proposed detailed master plans and detailed planning proposals, before they are adopted, together with an overall vision for the property over-arching such master plans, as well as details of the draft legal obligations and draft planning conditions for granting permission for any future development proposals;

 * Ensure that the process whereby master plans and detailed plans for the Liverpool Waters scheme, when developed, takes into consideration the concerns of the World Heritage Committee.

 
It strongly urges the State Party to consider all measures that would allow changes to the extent and scope of the proposed Liverpool Waters scheme to ensure the continued coherence of the architectural and town-planning attributes, and the continued safeguarding of the OUV (Outstanding Universal Value) of the property including the conditions of authenticity and integrity;
 
It further notes with appreciation that the State Party submitted a proposal for the desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger along with a set of corrective measures, and expressed its willingness to pursue consultations with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in view of its finalisation for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
 
It also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
 
Decides to retain Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) on the World Heritage List in Danger.

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25 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2014.

Ridiculous. It's the city's commercial developments that allow the preservation to take place. Do these people think that our government is going to just hand us millions upon millions of pounds to preserve these old buildings if the city is bringing in nothing in tax and continues to have the same prospects? Only the commercial coming hand in hand makes preservation possible - as evidence more has been done to preserve Liverpool's maritime heritage over the past 10 years than has happened over the past 100, and at no time in the past 100 years has Liverpool been better equipped to start looking after itself. The knock on effects of bringing in more people and business meaning we can do up buildings on Dale St, Water St, ropewalks, etc. Kill the commerce, kill off the preservation, and the city will just crumble.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Liz BryneJuly 22nd 2014.

I would be fascinated as to why you are anonymous - FYI Liverpool is 8th top tourist destination - tourism is our biggest source of income and guess what is top of their list ? Maritime heritage I guess they like those dark ugly buildings. More than likely the development will be buy to let owned by outside investors - what jobs what income are you talking about

John BradleyJuly 22nd 2014.

Where did you get those figures from.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2014.

"fascinated as to why you are anonymous"?? Because the functionality is there and I can't be bothered signing up to a site that I only visit occasionally and comment on even less? "Fascinating" enough for you? I take it you don't agree with my sentiments, however alluding to some sort of question over identity isn't an adequate riposte. To throw that right back at you, just because someone types a name on here doesn't mean it's their real name either, so there's no difference. In fact I would dispute everything you say. Firstly I am certain Liverpool is not 8th most popular tourist destination, I am sure it is more popular than that in fact. Secondly, even though I am certain that Liverpool is one of the UK's top tourist destinations it isn't its top earner. Liverpool has a multitude of commercial and industrial industries, and long may that continue. Any notion of Liverpool being able to survive on tourist income alone is total nonsense. Any large city needs to be able to offer its population a wide range of employment, not to mention being able to withstand shocks to its economy. While Liverpool is doing better today than it has for a long time, our history of decline is not so far back that we shouldn't be able to recall the consequences of having a weak and non-diversified economy. Lastly, you seem to assume that embracing commercial development means turning our backs on tourism, and this is absolutely not the case anyway. Tourism is one of the industries that benefit from commercial development and more people coming in to the city. Just because we build new buildings, doesn't mean there is the slightest bit of damage to the old ones (and in fact quite the reverse, as the futures of the old buildings are secured).

AnonymousJuly 22nd 2014.

I'd also be absolutely fascinated to see what practical "ideas" any of the heritage at all costs types could come up with to bring this ugly, dark building back into use www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/…/Heaps-rice-mill-demolition-story-mistake… Somewhere handy to keep potatoes perhaps?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 23rd 2014.

And I note no answers to this comment. Come on - instead of whines about this ugly thing getting pulled down and an expectation that someone else can come up with ideas (that can pass as acceptable, of course), let's see some renders of what YOU would do with it, to make it worth keeping? Or ideas as to what could go in there, how it could work, how light would get into the building. ....silence...

John BradleyJuly 22nd 2014.

I'm surprised there is only 1 name on the by line.

John RowlandsJuly 23rd 2014.

I am sure many uses could be found for the building. For example Liverpool has a rich musical and comedic heritage, part of the building could be used for a National Museum related to popular culture and music, I know this was developed in Sheffield (without comedy) ,and failed, but Liverpool I am sure would attract the punters, given the position of the Mill. Lottery funding could be sought and perhaps crowdfunding. It's massive interior space could be used for festivals, such as beer festivals,winter music festivals,or the shell could be retained and the building used for apartments, and perhaps incorporating some community and cultural element within the development. We are still rich country in spite of what we are led to believe, and if this was in London would the government sanction it's demolition? If a form of crowdfunding was used this could be promoted locally,as many local people would I am sure be happy to become investors in there own city.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 23rd 2014.

Well off you go and do it, all you need is to raise the money to buy the site and then do something with it. Several 10s of millions should cover the first bit and a similar sum for the second bit. Also remember without a listed building status, the company do not need planning permission to knock it down and the council has no grounds on which to stop it. So perhpas you had better sort that first.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2014.

Oh, another museum. Yes, it's a wonder someone hasn't done it already.

John RowlandsJuly 23rd 2014.

If you care about conserving your heritage, and stopping the demolition of Heaps Rice Mill, please come to the Public Meeting tomorrow at Unit 51, Baltic Creative, Jamaica Street Liverpool.It will take place from 6p.m. to 8 p.mm. Joe Anderson Mayor of Liverpool has been invited, as has a representative of English Heritage, at least one local councillor we be there. Peter Brown from Merseyside Civic Society will chair the meeting. If you have ideas or comments about the Mill here is your chance to air them at the meeting. You may also email barbara.kirkbride@liverpool.gov.uk or buidingand planningcontrol@liverpool.gov.uk with your objections or comments , before the 7th August.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2014.

Also, if you'd rather see this blot on the landscape taken down and something decent put in its place, and Liverpool's resurgence to continue, you can email barbara.kirkbride@liverpool.gov.uk or buidingand planningcontrol@liverpool.gov.uk with your SUPPORT and comments, before the 7th August.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Liz BryneJuly 23rd 2014.

what resurgence ?

John BradleyJuly 23rd 2014.

I think that ably demonstrates the relevance of you opinion.

John RowlandsJuly 23rd 2014.

In response to anonymous, yes another apartment block is a really decent solution?, Where is your imagination?This blot on the landscape as you call it, is worth more than another clone apartment block , the proposed apartment block has no redeeming features and will contribute nothing to the city landscape just another cloned development al la Manchester, Dubai, etc, lets lose our heritage for a quick buck for the developer,is that what you want? We have gave away too much too easily in the past.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 23rd 2014.

It has the advantage of being a viable solution, you have yet to suggest a viable one. I'd like to keep the mill, but a use has to be found for it, and the funds found, doing nothing is not an option and that is what you and Wayne are suggesting.

Liz BryneJuly 23rd 2014.

A planning application was approved in 2008 by LCC which retained the original features so it has been proven it is possible. These new shiny developments rarely bring jobs to the city just an income stream for out of town landlords. Construction workers are shipped in from other towns.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 23rd 2014.

The only thing that was proven was that they could get planning permission. As for what the the new shiny stuff does you in cloud cuckoo land. I'm sure you spend a lot of time hanging around building sites in Liverpool, which by the way is a city. Perhaps you don't get out of Woolton often.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2014.

The guy behind this development is apparently in his twenties with no record of developing big projects and we are expected to believe he has been given 160 million by foreign investors. The old brick will be flogged and it will end up as another wasteland or a fiver a day car park....give me the heaps Rice Mill any day. By the way flats in old restored buildings carry a premium over new build....if he was serious he would see the potential in the Mill. These idiots calling for demolition are the same type of voices that nearly cost us the Albert Dock in the Seventies and led to the destruction of streets of Georgian houses in the Sixties.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 23rd 2014.

Where did you get this information about this guys age and history? The owner does not need permission to knock it down, it is not listed, so why would they apply for planning permission and have designs drawn up, if they didn't have a plan. As you have such a good idea for a plan why don't you should find it easy to raise the cash if your plan is so obviously more profitable.

JeffJuly 23rd 2014.

It would be nice on occasion to visit this website and not be subject to the (relentless) thoughts of Chairman Bradley. All over this gaff like stink on a tramp. Wind it in a bit fella, not everyone is gegging to know your every thought on every issue concerning Merseyside.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 23rd 2014.

This comment has been deemed inappropriate by editorial staff, and has been removed.

JeffJuly 24th 2014.

The petulant (and almost instant) response tells its own tale....step away from your keypad for a while and enjoy the nice weather. Just a thought.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyJuly 24th 2014.

It isn't nice it is too hot.

David ThompsonJuly 25th 2014.

Q. 'Conservationists view Liverpool Waters as a nightmare attack on a World Heritage Site, with a Manhattan style skyline wrecking its epicentre.' The irony being of course that Liverpool and New York share an architectural heritage and both built big. In European terms the epicentre of the Liverpool WHS is a Manhattan Style Skyline!

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