Liverpool is still thriving despite World Heritage concerns, here’s why!

Liverpool has been left in limbo after the World Heritage Committee continues to express unhappiness over development in the World Heritage area and the buffer zone around it.


It has now offered the city a final chance to retain its status after requesting an updated report on what is being done to conserve the World Heritage area by February 2020.

But it has vowed to withdraw WHS in July next year if it’s not done to its satisfaction.

Liverpool has held World Heritage Status since 2004, focusing on its maritime history and covering six areas including the waterfront from the Albert Dock through to The Pier Head and up to Stanley Dock, the commercial districts and Ropewalks area to William Brown Street and St George’s Quarter.

It places the city among some of the world’s greatest attractions like the Taj Mahal and The Great Wall of China.

And yet Liverpool could yet lose its iconic title.

The city’s status has been on the danger list since 2012 following the approval of Peel’s 30-year Liverpool Waters project, a £5bn plan to build on and regenerate 150 acres of northern docklands.

Earlier this month the WH committee confirmed its ‘extreme concern’ at what it cites as inaction by the city council and UK government to address concerns and halt any building in the area or the ‘buffer zone’ around it.

While the city council says it is working hard in the background to address those concerns – the clock is now ticking.

Mayor Joe Anderson has said developments like those from Peel and Everton Football Club – which proposes to build its new stadium on the docks – are more important than keeping the city’s World Heritage Status.

He told the BBC: “It is more important we secure a future for our city… and protect our city than protect a derelict site.”

His opinion echoes concerns that World Heritage Status has stunted the city’s growth, unlike Manchester which is developing at a greater rate.


Regardless of World Heritage Status Liverpool continues to thrive and succeed in so many other areas – and here’s how:

1 – Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Liverpool Airport

Last year was Liverpool John Lennon Airport’s busiest year since 2011 with more than 5.1 million passengers – an increase of 3% compared with 2017 (and 140,000 more passengers passing through).

LJLA has seen growth both in passenger numbers and services throughout last year with new routes having started or been announced. It now serves over 70 destinations.

Liverpool has also continued to be one of the UK’s best performing airports operationally too: 97% of all passengers take 10 minutes or less to pass through security. And LJLA has recently been awarded the UK’s only 5-star airport rating by the world’s leading air travel intelligence company, OAG for flight punctuality. Out of 18 UK airports, Liverpool is the only one to receive a 5-star rating and one of only 6 in Western Europe to achieve this highest award. Globally, Liverpool is listed in the top 10% of Airports.

MORE: National museums has had its biggest year ever


2 – A cathedral brings gravitas and support to a city

Liverpool has got two! Both the Anglican Cathedral – Liverpool cathedral is the largest in the UK and the fifth largest in the world – and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King provide places of worship, attract thousands of tourists each year and provide venues for university graduations.

Liverpool Cathedral continues to host major events and art installations like this year’s Gaia replica earth artwork by Luke Jerram. And, while that was on display, Britain’s first astronaut Helen Sharman CMG OBE visited the city and the Cathedral as part of River Festival Liverpool.

MORE: Liverpool City of Music – Here’s how to take yourself on a music adventure in Liverpool


3 – Retail success

Liverpool One continues to draw in the crowds more than 10 years after it was established. It celebrated its 10th anniversary last year with 100% lettings.

Not just a focus for fashion, it adds to the economy with a wealth of bars and restaurants, and is home to many with residential development too. Now famous for its interactive events too like the hugely successful Dinosaurs Unleashed, Tickle the Ivories, and of course it’s sparkling annual Christmas Street Party.

MORE: 10 Reasons why we love Liverpool ONE


4 – Footfall figures

Liverpool BID Company revealed footfall figures that show the city centre’s high street continues to thrive and buck the national trend. The increase in visitors, it said, is being driven by the diverse and booming retail and leisure offer in the city centre, such as the independent retailers on Bold Street, the national brands of Church Street, St Johns Shopping Centre, Clayton Square and Williamson Square, and the boutique shops at Metquarter.

Bill Addy, chief executive, Liverpool BID Company, said: “It is incredible to see Liverpool bucking the national trend and reporting such positive results.” A 2018 – 2023 £5m masterplan aims to further improve safety and cleansing and boost footfall through events and animation in the city centre.

MORE: Liverpool’s retail figures are showing resilience


5 – St John’s Shopping Centre

St Johns Shopping Centre, which celebrates 50 years this year, is also bucking the national retail trend. In the first half of last year sales were up and more than 200,000 extra shoppers went through the doors in just the first few months of the year. St Johns has seen an increase in every area of the business, outperforming regional and industry benchmarks. Sales were up 3% year-on-year for the first five months of 2018.

St Johns general manager Neil Ashcroft said: “Our shoppers are staying longer, spending more, and we’re attracting a wider demographic of visitors. It’s not a coincidence our customer reviews on Google and TripAdvisor have also significantly gone up.”

MORE: 8 things you didn’t know about Liverpool’s connection with the Titanic


6 – The Baltic District

South of the city centre, the Baltic Triangle has been transformed from a largely abandoned area of derelict warehouses into a thriving creative and cultural hub. It is now hone to hundreds of digital and creative businesses as well as a number of popular bars and leisure venues.

Its success has also attracted a number of residential developers looking to cash in on the popularity of the district.

MORE: Europe’s largest gaming arcade is planned for Cains Brewery Village


7 – Tourism

The Guide Liverpool

Tourism continues to soar. In 2017, 64.2 million people travelled to the city and in 2018, Liverpool’s tourism economy reached an all-time high with an estimated net worth of £4.5 billion. St. George’s Hall, Albert Dock, National Museums and Tate Liverpool seen huge visitor numbers in 2018, which continue to grow. National Museums alone recorded its highest ever visitor figures, with 3,965,453 visits made across eight museums and galleries. And we have new attractions like RLB360 now open giving visitors a birds eye view of our town form our most iconic building.

Liverpool Cruise Terminal is slap bang in the middle of its busiest season to date with more passengers than ever before visiting our shores to experience all that Liverpool has to offer. Disney Magic returns later this year and only this week we had a visit from the Cunard Queen Mary 2.

MORE: There’s a floating cinema coming to the Royal Albert Dock


8 – Conferences

The city’s growing reputation as a tourism hub is enhanced by its continued and increasing destination for international conferences and events. Last year’s Labour Party Conference took place at ACC Liverpool with an estimated 13,000 in attendance. With the addition of Exhibition Centre Liverpool, there are more events, conferences and exhibitions taking place at ACC Liverpool than ever before, with the likes of Comic Con, UCAS and BBC World all choosing the venue for its annual events.

WATCH: We take you into Arena Club at M&S Bank Arena


9 – Events

Events like The Giants Spectacular which returned to the city for the third and final time last year put the spotlight on the city and increase visitor numbers. In 2017 visitor numbers has grown to 59million and continues to increase – directly impacting the hospitality industry, and supporting 35,000 jobs in 2017 –  a 3.2% increase and worth over £3billion to the economy, according to Helen Wynn, director of Carringtons Catering in October 2018.

How can we ever forget that incredible victory parade in June as LFC brought the Champions League cup home, or the national events like CBCC Summer Social and Fusion that now call Liverpool home. From LightNight to LIMF, Africa Oye to the River Festival, we have got it all.

Latest figures show Liverpool City Region’s Visitor Economy is now worth over £4.9bn, last year welcomed 67.3m visitors to the region and supports over 57,000 jobs.

The findings are contained in the latest independent research for 2018 commissioned by the Visitor Economy Team at Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership showed in Liverpool alone:

-A 7.4% increase in visitor numbers – up to 38m.

-A 5% increase in the number of staying visitors (2.7m). Including a 6% increase in serviced accommodation days.

-A wider benefit of an 8.4% rise in jobs – to almost 38,000.

MORE: Capital of Culture year was a massive boost for Liverpool


10 – Universities

The city has three thriving universities: The University of Liverpool; John Moores University and Hope University which attract students from all over the world.

Student numbers at the University of Liverpool alone have increased by 20% in recent years and the university has a Strategy to ‘be a truly global institution – in its outlook, influence, impact and activity’ by 2026. It is aiming to be at the forefront of research, scholarship and knowledge leadership and among the top 100 universities in the world.

MORE: All the latest news in and around Liverpool here


11 – Major sporting events

The city continues to host and attract major sporting events like the 2019 Netball World Cup being hosted currently at the M&S Bank Arena until July 21.


Get all of the latest news for Liverpool and beyond here.

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