Is Liverpool's world heritage status in ruins?

A billionaire's 60-storey skyscraper has prompted Unesco to reconsider the honour it granted the city

The Liverpool antique dealer who complained to Unesco about a billionaire tax exile's plan for a 60-storey Shanghai Tower skyscraper on the Mersey is unrepentant.

Three inspectors from Unesco are being dispatched from Paris to Liverpool on Monday to decide whether the city is to be stripped of its status as a World Heritage Site.

An independent report by English Heritage has concluded that the Peel Group's £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme, Britain's biggest planning application, would have "a significant damaging negative impact on the Liverpool world heritage site and its outstanding universal value".

Wayne Colquhoun, 50, who runs the Liverpool Preservation Trust from his art shop in the India Buildings, the former headquarters of the Blue Funnel Line, warned Unesco in Paris.

He said yesterday: "I have no regrets about causing this trouble. I was compelled to complain. This city is not safe in the hands of its present leaders. English Heritage is supporting me but I fear the people seem to want to turn our wonderful city into Shanghai-on-Mersey at a time when we should be looking to Amsterdam to build an architectural future on the human scale.

"When we attained world heritage status they said we were up there with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids. But who would have dared to plan for a 60- storey tower overlooking the Taj Mahal?

"I think Unesco should have objected to the three black coffin structures already built to block one of our great vistas near the Pier Head."

The experts are Ron van Oers, a Dutch urban planner, Patricia Alberth, a German expert in development, and the noted Italian conservation architect Giancarlo Barbato. After a three-day visit, they will reach a decision by Christmas.

The proposed tower was named by Peel's director of development, Lindsey Ashworth, and chairman, John Whittaker, the richest resident in the Isle of Man, after a visit to the Liverpool Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, Liverpool's twin city.

The usually reclusive Lancashire-born Whittaker, 69, joined the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on a trade delegation to Shanghai last November.

The Peel Group of 200 companies is a member of the Downtown Liverpool in Business pressure group headed by former Labour Party activist Frank McKenna. McKenna yesterday called for Liverpool to ditch its world heritage status "if it gets in the way of rebuilding our economy and our previous reliance on public sector grants and handouts.

"If the price of that vanity badge is wrecking the Peel plans, we should pay it. The vanity badge, from what I can tell, has brought little, if any, benefit."

The city and Peel have recently been hammered by architectural critics. In 2009, the Merseytravel Pier Head ferry terminal won the Carbuncle Cup awarded by the magazine Building Design for "the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last 12 months".

Liverpool's retiring planning chairwoman, Lady Doreen Jones, said she had felt "blackmailed" into approving a design that looked like "an architectural student's failed first attempt".

Struck off: Heritage has-beens

Only one European location has previously been removed from Unesco's World Heritage List.

For their persistence in constructing the four-lane Waldschlösschen Bridge over the river Elbe in the centre of the capital of Saxony, the city fathers of Dresden were stripped of their status in 2009.

The Elbe valley, running for 11 miles between water meadows, eighteenth century palaces and parks, had been on the List of World Heritage in Danger for four years.

The former East German city, still rebuilding after the Communist era and the 1945 firestorm bombing raids, consequently lost access to a €150m fund for Unesco sites.

The only other deletion from the list was Oman's Oryx Antelope Sanctuary in 2007. It came after the discovery of oil under the sanctuary.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas