A LEADING architect has said the loss of Liverpool’s World Heritage status will be used by conservation groups to heap pressure on Edinburgh City Council to curb new developments in the capital.

Professor Alan Dunlop said he did not believe that the city was in danger of losing the coveted status and described Liverpool as an “easy target”.

“I don’t think Edinburgh is under threat of losing World Heritage status. Instead the decision will further embolden the various conservation groups within Edinburgh into coercing the planning department and Edinburgh city councillors to reject any modern development they don’t like by using Liverpool’s loss of World Heritage Status as a warning,” he said.

“The situation with Liverpool is different, I’ve taught there as a visiting professor for five years, it is a city I love. It had many abandoned sites along its waterfront in dire need of regeneration. I believe World Heritage were flexing their muscles and Liverpool and was an easy target. Not like Edinburgh at all.”

He added: “I would add the Unesco’s decision to strip Liverpool of World Heritage status, apparently due to ‘irreversible damage’ caused by new development is cant, with so many abandoned and brownfield sites on the Mersey, what else could they do. “Edinburgh is our capital, the birthplace of the Enlightenment and, with the contrast of the New and Old Town, it is unique. However, there are situations where the supposed awarding of World Heritage status is more of a burden than a benefit. Cities also need to adapt and grow, not be preserved in aspic, which it often feels that Edinburgh’s conservation groups would like. I expect Liverpool to bounce back from this. I certainly hope so.”

Edinburgh has two World Heritage Sites – the Old and the New Towns as well as the nearby Forth Bridge.

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.”

READ MORE: Liverpool stripped of Unesco World Heritage status over new waterfront buildings

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.

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.