English Premier League football club Everton yesterday (Thursday) cleared the first major hurdle in its quest for a new stadium after announcing that it had reached an agreement with developer Peel to acquire a site at Bramley Moore Dock in Liverpool.
The announcement follows extensive negotiations between the club and Peel, brokered by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.
Bramley Moore Dock forms part of the wide-ranging, £5bn (€5.8bn/$6.2bn) Liverpool Waters scheme, which Peel is overseeing. Everton’s agreement with the developer is subject to planning permission being granted and the club said there a number of obstacles that need negotiating before the plans are able to be fleshed out.
On March 31, a report will be presented to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet, recommending that it progresses heads of terms to create a new special purpose vehicle (SPV) company, which will take a lease of the stadium from a funder and, in turn, sub-lease it to the club.
Everton confirmed that the £300m-plus development would be fully funded by the club, with the council to provide no funds towards the project.
“We can now move forward into the next phase of work with much greater confidence,” Everton chief executive Robert Elstone said. “Clearly, it is vital we have clarity on cost and we have to recognise that the stadium will be significantly more expensive at Bramley Moore Dock.
“To get that certainty, and ensure the stadium is affordable, we need to confirm stadium design, capacity and configuration. And to do that, we need to talk to fans, partners and all stakeholders in the project. We’re committing to that consultation. We’re also committed to keep fans fully informed as the project develops and as other milestones are reached.
“We’re keen to stress not only the scale of the work ahead but also the remaining risks and uncertainties. We’re delighted we’ve secured the site and we’re equally delighted the Mayor is continuing to support our financing model, but significant hurdles remain, not least the preparation and submission of a detailed planning application. Receipt of a successful planning approval at some point early next year will be the most significant step towards bringing the stadium to life.”
As part of the agreement, the council would receive an annual security fee payable by the club in return for its participation. Everton stated that the support provided to the club by the council would not impact the future borrowing needs and involves no financial outlay for the council.
It is hoped the new stadium will help drive economic development in north Liverpool, with the council planning a £100m regeneration of the surrounding area.
Mayor Anderson welcomed the announcement: “I’m delighted that we have got to a stage where the city and Everton can publicly share the vision for the club’s potential new home at Bramley Moore Dock.
“I understand that creating this financial arrangement is a small step in a long journey for the club, but it is the first step and for that reason it is a special moment in the city’s – and Everton’s – long illustrious history. If things progress as we all hope, it marks the beginnings of a new and exciting chapter.
“The proposed new stadium will be a landmark for the city’s spectacular north Liverpool waterfront and a powerful statement of intent for the club and the city of Liverpool that will resonate globally.
“From the city’s perspective, the stadium would complement and accelerate the regeneration plans already in place for north Liverpool, much like the way our partnership with Liverpool FC in the Anfield Project did for their stadium expansion which has benefitted the wider Anfield community.”
Subject to the approval being granted by cabinet, the council will finalise the details of the heads of terms agreement over the next three months, by which point Everton will be free to progress with the preparation of a planning application.
Everton has played at its current Goodison Park home since 1892.