Tuesday, 8 November 2011

David Swift On World Heritage Risks

David Swift, the tireless heritage workhorse, and Liverpool World Heritage Watchdog writes in to today's Daily Post to try to counterbalance some of the more extreme views on World Heritage, by those it seems who don't understand the full gravity of the situation. 
Unesco have asked to meet Mr Swift when the Unesco Monitoring Mission visits Liverpool early next week. They are keen to hear his views.
I am in admiration of Mr Swifts tireless efforts for little credit in the fight to save Liverpool's World Heritage Site from the sort of developments that have become far too evident at the Pier Head. If Liverpool had more people of the calibre of Mr Swift the historic and urban landscape of the city would be in a far better place.

We should be proud of heritage

LOSING World Heritage status would be a disaster, giving further ammunition to the national anti-scouse stereotype. Fortunately, the rest of the world does not share this prejudice.
They see Liverpool as a characterful tourist destination and our World Heritage status, properly advertised and marketed, should be a massive asset. It would be foolish to risk it.
Yet I wonder what Unesco must make of a city which requires a second monitoring mission in such a short space of time. We should be proud of our heritage and obey the rules which our city leaders signed up to, as recently as the Supplementary Planning Document of October 2009.
The criteria set out in this document do not prevent appropriate redevelopment – quite the contrary!
So in response to J.Sully and I.Poole (Daily Post November 1 and 3), who would happily throw away our status – a tirade against Wayne Colquhoun and what they describe as the heritage "lobby" is off the mark. It is childishly easy to dish up an artist’s impression of a Shanghai skyline. Rather more difficult to create quality architecture on a human scale. If you want to see proof of what happens when architects and planners are let loose then just look at the mess on Mann Island.
In conclusion, the Unesco monitoring mission was invited to visit Liverpool by the UK Government. This followed advice given in an independent report on Liverpool Waters to English Heritage. I’m sure Unesco would rather not have to do this inspection – they must have lost confidence in our city leaders by now.

David Swift, Litherland


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