Abbey Road crossing gets heritage protection

The London crosswalk pictured on the cover of the Abbey Road album by the Beatles has been designated as a site of national importance by the British government.

The London crosswalk pictured on the cover of the Abbey Road album by the Beatles has been designated as a site of national importance by the British government.

Thousands of tourists visit the zebra crossing outside Abbey Road Studios every year to have their picture taken in the spot Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr made famous.

live webcam at the site means it can be seen from around the world.

The heritage designation, approved Wednesday, means the crossing can only be altered with the approval of the local authorities, who must consider the historic significance of the site before approving any changes.

"This London zebra crossing is no castle or cathedral but, thanks to the Beatles and a 10-minute photo shoot one August morning in 1969, it has just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage," said Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose in a statement Wednesday.

More than half a million buildings, monuments and structures in Britain have a similar Category II heritage designation.

Abbey Road Studios were listed as a heritage site in February.

With files from The Associated Press