The English city of Liverpool was excluded from the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites because the new buildings undermined the attractiveness of its Victorian docks, making it only the third site removed from the prestigious list.
Liverpool was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004, along with landmarks such as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Following a vote in China by members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the new buildings in Liverpool undermine the city’s “authenticity and integrity.”
Liverpool – the hometown of the Beatles – was included in the heritage list in recognition of its role as one of the most important ports in the world in the 18-19 centuries and for its architectural beauty.
Joan Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, said the decision to remove the city from the list was “unclear” ten years after the last visit by UNESCO officials. Anderson said she hopes to appeal the decision.
“I am very disappointed and worried,” she said. “Our World Heritage Site has never been in the best condition as it has received hundreds of millions of pounds in investment.”
The only other sites previously stripped of the title are the Oman Wildlife Sanctuary in 2007 after poaching and loss of habitat, and the Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany in 2009, when a four-lane bridge was built across the river.
Heritage marking gives historic sites access to UN funding for environmental activities, as well as the possibility of including them in travel guides around the world.
Liverpool has been threatened with exclusion since 2012 after UNESCO warned that plans to build apartments and offices would destroy the cityscape.
Plans to build a new Everton football club stadium on the site of the former docks were approved earlier this year, despite objections from environmental authorities.