Everton FC’s £500m stadium plan approved by government


image copyrightEverton

image captionEverton could host games at Bramley-Moore Dock by 2024Everton says its £500m plans for a new 52,000-capacity stadium on the Liverpool waterfront can go ahead.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has now “decided not to intervene”, said a spokesman.

The Premier League club has played at Goodison Park since 1892. It has been looking for a new home for 25 years.

Upon learning of Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick opting not to intervene in the council’s planning process, Everton said it was a “momentous day”.

Mr Jenrick decided there was no need to “call-in” the application, the ministry spokesman added.

image copyrightEverton

image captionThe waterfront stadium will be built just to the north of Liverpool city centreFans, former players and supporter groups expressed their “delight” at the news on social media and said it was “a huge day”.

The club’s longest serving captain, Kevin Ratcliffe, said it had been a “long time coming” and “at one stage it would seem like it would never happen”.

He said the stadium would be a “great masterpiece for Liverpool” although he admitted “it will be heartbreaking for some fans to leave Goodison Park, but it is a ground that is ageing.”

Nick Mernock of the independent Everton’s Fans Forum, which was involved in consultations over the stadium, said his overwhelming reaction was “relief”.

“We recognise it is bigger than just football as it will be a fundamental regeneration for a large piece of unloved land,” he said.

He said the fans’ main priority was that its design could recreate the “atmosphere of Goodison Park.”

Football finance expert, Keiron Maguire, from the University of Liverpool, said the stadium would be a “game-changer” for increasing the club’s revenue.

The new stadium will be situated within developer Peel’s £5.5bn Liverpool Waters site.

The director of development for the site, Darran Lawless, said the firm was “delighted” with the decision.

Historic England, which had objected to the new stadium on the grounds it could harm the city’s heritage, said it understood “the strength of feeling for the stadium among many Liverpudlians and respect the process which has led to this decision”.

CLARIFICATION – 28 March 2021: The original version of our article stated Everton had “received final approval” from the government. A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman asked us to clarify that the Secretary of State had “decided not to intervene” in Liverpool City Council’s planning process.

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