CITY leaders in Edinburgh have been urged to “remain vigilant” after Liverpool had its World Heritage status revoked after a UN committee found developments including the new Everton FC stadium threatened the value of the city’s waterfront.

Liverpool was named a World Heritage site by Unesco in 2004, joining places including the Taj Mahal, Egypt’s Pyramids and Edinburgh New and Old Towns.

But on Wednesday, following a secret ballot, the World Heritage Committee voted to remove the site from the list, in a decision described as “incomprehensible” by Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson.

The committee, made up of representatives of 21 countries, was asked to make the decision after a report said “inadequate governance processes, mechanisms, and regulations for new developments in and around the World Heritage property” resulted in “serious deterioration and irreversible loss of attributes".

Edinburgh has three World Heritage sites, two in the city centre and the Forth Bridge.

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Christina Sinclair, director of Edinburgh World Heritage has stressed that despite concerns raised by Unesco over “a cluster of developments” in Edinburgh following a 2015 visit, the capital’s World Heritage status “is not under imminent threat”.

She added: “The recent decision to stop the plan to transform the Old Royal High School into a luxury hotel has confirmed that new development that threatens the heritage value of the site will not be permitted.

“We are encouraged that more recent development projects, such as the plan for the vacant area behind Jury’s Inn in the Old Town, show more respect for the context and authenticity of the site.”

But Ms Sinclair has called on councillors and heritage bodies to “remain vigilant in order to protect our precious city”, warning no complacency can be permitted.

She added: ”The new hotel at the St. James’ Quarter has certainly raised eyebrows, and has altered our skyline significantly.

“The recent proposals, such as the approved new rooftop extension for Debenhams on Princes Street are a further reminder that little-by-little, new development can encroach and threaten the heritage value of Edinburgh.

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“Through our role in advising the city on the impact of new development on the World Heritage site, we hope to prevent any further erosion of this heritage value through enabling new, sensitive development that we can all be proud of."

“We are saddened by the expected loss of Liverpool’s World Heritage status, and together with our partners we remain committed to protecting Edinburgh’s World Heritage status and the benefits it beings to the city and its people.”

Liverpool has been on the list of world heritage in danger since 2012, when the committee decided the Liverpool Waters development, planned for the city’s northern docks, was a potential danger to the site.

Plans for Everton’s new £500 million stadium were approved earlier this year despite objections from heritage body ICOMOS, acting on behalf of Unesco, as well as the Victorian Society and Historic England.

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A report considered by the committee, meeting virtually and in person in Fuzhou, China, said: “The approved planning application for a new football stadium in Bramley-Moore Dock within the property adds to the ascertained threat on the property’s outstanding universal value (OUV) and is directly contrary to the approach requested by the committee for this property.”

Conservative Edinburgh city centre councillor Jo Mowat, doesn't believe there is any immediate threat to the capital’s World heritage status – but raised the prospect of a “gradual depletion” of Edinburgh’s heritage if strict rules are not followed.

She added: ”I think there’s always a risk once you’ve got World Heritage sites and how you preserve that.

“We went through the same process as Liverpool a few years ago but we did not get our World Heritage status taken away.

“We do try and work quite closely with the Edinburgh World Heritage management and that relationship has got better and indeed strengthened.”

Ms Mowat added: “We have to keep it under constant review.

“The planning department, like all council departments is strapped for cash and under pressure and we’re asking officers to do a lot.

“So we need to make sure that protecting our heritage continues to be a priority.”

Edinburgh City Council's planning convener, Neil Gardiner, said although "the situation in Liverpool is unusual", he was confident management of Edinburgh's sites "is robust".

He added: “Edinburgh is a unique city of extraordinary quality within a dramatic landscape setting. We use the management plan all partners have signed up to preserve and enhance what makes this area so important, the outstanding universal value of the New and Old Towns in Edinburgh.

“When presented with any new plan for the site we must always remember this status and what is special about Edinburgh and that it’s not just special to the people who work and live here but to the rest of the world as well. We have to encourage growth that ensures its protection.

“To that end we’re working hard with our partners to make sure that growth continues to be fresh and bold but in-keeping with our site’s outstanding universal values.”