After UNESCO decided to revoke the World Heritage Status of the Liverpool Docklands area due to "the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property", Kim Johnson argues previous development pales in comparison to threat from developers now the WHS status has been removed.

UNESCO's decision to strip our great city of Liverpool of its world heritage status is stunningly counterproductive. Taken by a secret group of individuals thousands of miles away who last visited the city a decade ago, it does not reflect the millions of pounds of improvements made to dozens of listed buildings. Instead, it threatens to roll back the preservation of Liverpool's history and heritage.

As the member of Parliament for Liverpool Riverside, representing the constituency where I was born, grew up and still live, I am a very proud Scouser and share the fierce pride we take in our history and heritage.

The port's history is complex, encompassing both the proud hub of the industrial revolution as well as the shameful stain of its central role in the transatlantic slave trade. The community and council have worked incredibly hard to commemorate, recognise and reconcile these histories in this space, and the decision to revoke Liverpool's world heritage status is a massive blow to these efforts.

While those who made the decision cited a 'serious deterioration' of these historic sites caused by more modern developments, their verdict removes crucial funding that has preserved the docks so beautifully and risks opening up the area further to a free-for-all of profit-driven developments.

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Property tycoons will already be salivating at the prospects of this prime real estate up for grabs as a result of this decision, and campaigners and community activists are facing the roll back of decades of work to commemorate and preserve our history.

Liverpool has suffered under a generation of managed decline, with a decade of austerity slashing £450 million from our local government budget. Soaring levels of unemployment, food bank usage, and in-work and child poverty have left us working harder than most to cover the costs of basic services without giving into profiteering investment that sacrifices community cohesion for short-term gains.

Despite this, our amazing city is resilient and has fought back with a programme of growth and investment – aided in no small part by UNESCO's heritage funding and global exposure that has boosted our tourism sector. Removing our WHS status risks rowing back on the improvements we have managed to win and sends a signal to our communities that they have to choose between preserving their history and investing in their future.

If UNESCO is so concerned at serious deterioration of Liverpool's historic waterfront, it should not have made the decision to remove the protective status and withdraw funding but instead work constructively with the community and local leadership to ensure that these sites are preserved as we invest in our future.

These funds have been crucial in supporting our city in creating jobs and opportunities for our many left-behind communities, lifting the burden of the cost of venerating our past and upkeeping our historic sites. No community should have to face this choice, and Liverpool now risks a degeneration of world treasures.

The preservation of our great city's history has been hard won, with communities in Liverpool often at the forefront of movements to recognise the contradictions and complexities, the shining diversity and everyday brilliance of Britain's fraught past. Our pride in our city and our heritage will never be diminished, and we will fight with everything we've got to appeal this decision and work towards progress for Liverpool's future – one which still preserves our past.

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