Everton’s proposed £500m new waterfront stadium has been recommended for approval by Liverpool planning officers in a boost to one of the North West’s biggest regeneration projects.
The club wants to build a 52,888-capacity stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in the city’s northern docklands. It submitted a planning application for the scheme in 2019.
It hopes the stadium and the redevelopment of Goodison Park could bring a £1.3bn boost to the city’s economy – and says that will be even more important as the city battles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Now in an almost 200-page report, planning officials have recommended the city’s planning committee approve the scheme when they meet next week for a special meeting.
The report called the application a “significant event in the history of the city” and “a major decision for the local planning authority”. It said the club’s plans “have broad popular support overall” and added the “substantial public benefits far outweigh any heritage harm”.
The Liverpool Echo says a special planning committee meeting has been convened for February 23, which will look at both the new stadium plans and the “legacy” plans for the club’s current home at Goodison Park.
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If approved, the proposals would be referred automatically to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, as is standard practice for a project this size.
The Echo reports the club is confident the project would survive any higher level scrutiny that resulted.
Once approved the club is likely to move forward to find private funding for the ambitious scheme.
The report lists a 12-stage construction process for the Bramley-Moore scheme which is expected to take 150 weeks. That could potentially have the Blues in their new ground in time for the 2024/25 campaign.
The project had faced objections from heritage groups as the development site lies within the city’s World Heritage Site. But the council’s report says the plans could actually bring “heritage benefits” by opening up a site that is largely closed to the public, as well as by bringing surviving historic structures back to life.