This is a timely move after losing World Heritage status

In 2021 Liverpool lost its UNESCO ‘world heritage’ status. Many people breathed a sigh of relief. ‘World heritage’ status is good for smaller places or specific structures and buildings but not so good for modern, dynamic cities. 

A couple of years later and the city wants to take its greatest asset and make it more coherent going forward. The idea is to take the six miles from Bramley-Moore Dock in the north to Festival Gardens in the south and make it sing for the city. 

To that end a team of experts in development will be appointed to draw up a planning document covering 10-15 years of waterfront development. 

The city wants to take its greatest asset and make it more coherent going forward

Place North West have reported the words of Councillor Nick Small who said: “This is an amazing opportunity and I hope the appointed team approaches the challenge with the imagination and verve befitting a world-class city. Such is its dynamic offer, Liverpool’s waterfront supports a huge chunk of our visitor, retail and commercial economies, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and we need to be just as mindful of how we shape its future as we are proud of its past.”  

This is a necessary and overdue move. Several poor schemes architecturally have popped up along those six miles in the last couple of decades seemingly without any overall plan in mind. The result is gap-toothed development which has not maximised the potential of this magnificent and internationally top-level location. Alexandra Tower on Princes Parade is a case in point, a poor design that hasn’t aged well in it’s eighteen years. 

With huge projects such as Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters and Everton Football Club’s riverside embrace plus existing assets such as The Pierhead and Albert Dock, if the new planning document encourages better place-making and design then not only will the cosmetic amenity be improved for locals and tourists but something else of benefit may happen. 

North and south of the central core of the city the river edge is bordered by suburbs with some of the lowest health, employment and wealth indices in the country. A key part of the study group’s work in preparing the special planning document will be to lift these areas as well. 

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