Liverpool City Council has outlined its proposed measures to protect its World Heritage Site status.
The Council, along with the government and Historic England, has drafted the Desired State of Conservation Report (DSOCR), which went to the Council’s Cabinet 23 February for endorsement before being submitted to Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for subsequent examination by the World Heritage Committee in July.
Liverpool was granted World Heritage status in 2004 as an 'outstanding example of a world mercantile port city' and also enjoyed European Capital of Culture status in 2008. However, in 2012, the City was placed on the World Heritage 'Danger List' with UNESCO considering that there was a lack of management of new developments. UNESCO warned the site would become only the third to be removed from the list should regeneration plans not be reconsidered.
The DSOCR outlines ‘corrective measures that Liverpool City Council, the recently established World Heritage Site taskforce, the city’s WHS Partnership Steering Group, together with Historic England and government agree to put in place’. Measures proposed within the document include a skyline policy applying to tall buildings and the production of new planning documents to protect the status of WHS.
The proposed re-introduction of a 'tall building policy' follows the scrapping of the previous tall building policy in 2006 by then Mayor Warren Bradley and is likely to result in a review of the height of the proposed development at the Liverpool Waters site.
The World Heritage Site Supplementary Planning Document, which was adopted in 2009, already provides clear guidelines to protect the Outstanding Universal Value. The DSOCR states that this will be updated in parallel with the Liverpool Local Plan to ensure that future proposals will protect the heritage of the waterfront.
Other suggestions within the DSOCR include the creation of a Liverpool World Heritage Trust and the development of a communication strategy aimed at developers.
The draft Local Plan strengthens the desire to retain the WHS status, with the Vision stating 'the waterfront will be a focus for leisure and tourism activity. The internationally significant UNESCO World Heritage Site will have been sensitively managed, providing a catalyst for further economic regeneration.' Public consultation is currently on-going on the draft Local Plan until 9 March 2018 with adoption expected in January 2019.
HOW Planning is involved in a number of developments within Liverpool, including advising on planning matters at Liverpool ONE and inputting into the Ten Streets Masterplan. The Ten Streets Spatial Regeneration Framework was approved by Cabinet on 9 February and sets design and development principles to guide the regeneration of the 125-acre former docklands site over the next 15 – 20 years. The project seeks to deliver a new creativity district, provide up to 1 million square foot of development and deliver around 2,500 new jobs.
The revised NPPF is expected to be published in the coming weeks to include planning reforms which were outlined in the Housing White Paper a year ago. Housing growth remains a key issue and, with Liverpool's population expected to grow to 517,000 by 2033, the challenge for Liverpool is striking a balance between being a progressive, pro-development city which delivers new housing whilst also conserving heritage and maintaining WHS status.
We will continue to monitor and advise on developments within Liverpool. If you have any queries, require further information or would like advice on development within Liverpool, please get in touch.