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Opposition mounting to Liverpool heritage bid

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A group representing Liverpool's business community has attacked plans to turn much of the city's riverfront into a World Heritage Site.

In the week UNESCO inspectors visit the city, think-tank and networking organisation Downtown Liverpool has warned the proposal will slow regeneration and development.

Director Frank McKenna said that if the bid wins UN backing it will 'hugely increase' the power and influence of the city's heritage lobby.

'We are already worried about the importance of the conservationists, ' he told the AJ. 'There are a number of medium-sized developments that have already failed to win council support because of the [World Heritage Site] bid.

'Many people are rightly proud that Liverpool's built heritage is being recognised as one of the best in the world, but no one seems to have thought through what it will actually mean.

'There are many economic opportunities about to come our way, but World Heritage Site status might well mean we are not in the best position to take them up, 'McKenna added.

He also warned there would be few material benefits. 'World Heritage Site status would not provide us with any money. You don't simply get a wad of cash to tart up all the great buildings that need to be refurbished, ' he said.

Downtown Liverpool's opposition follows warnings from experts that if the city's bid is successful it would reduce the chances of Will Alsop's Fourth Grace winning planning permission (AJ 23.1.03).

However, the city's council dismissed these concerns, saying McKenna's criticism showed that he has 'failed to understand what winning the bid would actually mean'.

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