Liverpool could lose its World Heritage Status next month, with a UNESCO recommendation for the city to have the title removed expected to land next week.

Liverpool was granted World Heritage Status in 2004, placing it alongside world famous attractions like the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.

But the city has faced the threat of losing the UNESCO status for over a decade now, with Peel's £5bn development at Liverpool Waters in the city's north docks the key issue.

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More recently, the heritage body has expressed concerns about Everton's now approved plans for a new £500m stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.

The main issue raised regarding the stadium plan is the infilling of a Victorian dock - although the club has repeatedly stressed the lengths it has gone to within its plans to respect, restore and value heritage at the site.

UNESCO's committee will meet in late July to make a final decision about Liverpool's fate, but it is understood a recommendation to delete the city from the World Heritage Register will arrive next week.

And Liverpool's key figures are already planning to fight back and argue that the city can respect and value heritage while carrying out vital regeneration that is more needed now than ever.

A letter on the issue has been signed by key city figures including Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson, City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, the chief executives of Liverpool and Everton as well as key figures from the city's cultural, economic and academic sectors.

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Also signing the letter is former Tory minister Michael Heseltine, who was a key figure in helping to regenerate and rebuild Liverpool from the dark days of the 1980s.

The letter states: "On the issue of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site, we would like to make it absolutely clear – that the city does not want to lose this status.

"In advance of the World Heritage Committee meeting in July, we are asking the committee members to defer any decision on the city’s status and, instead, accept an invitation to visit Liverpool at some point during the next 12 months.

"Liverpool, like the rest of the world, has had to focus all efforts on dealing with Covid-19 and is currently planning its comeback.

"Deletion of World Heritage status would be a setback to those plans. And a very unfair one.

"Liverpool, which is under new political leadership, has made huge strides to invest in - and improve - its World Heritage site. It is in a far superior state than when the status was granted in 2004 - and this work demands a fresh appraisal.

"Indeed, more than £710m of public and private monies has been invested in upgrading 119 heritage assets within the site and its buffer zone, including 59 listed buildings. A further £350m is currently being invested to upgrade a further 38 assets.

"In addition, there is the £500m Everton FC investment in Bramley Moore Dock. This includes £50m to upgrade heritage assets in a derelict dock, which has been closed to the public for more than 40 years and sits within the poorest ward in Liverpool.

The letter says the stadium project will "bring millions of people to the shores of the Mersey over the coming decades to watch football, as well as to experience and learn about the city’s and Britain’s maritime past".

It adds: "We are now calling on World Heritage Committee members to defer any imminent decision and accept the invitation to see for themselves what is happening in the city, pandemic guidelines permitting.

"We hope they see, like us, that Liverpool’s World Heritage Site should be shown up as an exemplar of best practice in heritage-led regeneration.

"Deletion would not just be a loss to Liverpool, the UK, and to a greater degree UNESCO, it would be an even bigger missed opportunity in demonstrating to the world that heritage and regeneration are not mutually exclusive."