English Premier League football club Liverpool has revealed initial design plans for a new 16,000-seat Anfield Road Stand, with public consultation on the project due to begin today (Friday).

The latest phase of Anfield stadium’s redevelopment would see overall capacity rise from around 54,000 to over 61,000, if the plans are approved. The current proposals would see the capacity of the Anfield Road Stand increase by around 7,000 seats, the majority of which the club states will be general admission, with some sports bar/lounge hospitality being offered.

Anfield’s new Main Stand opened in 2016, adding some 9,000 seats to the stadium’s capacity. Liverpool confirmed in August that it would allow the planning permission for the Anfield Road Stand expansion, granted as part of the Main Stand project, to lapse in order to allow work to continue on alternative options with a view to submitting a new planning application.

The new plans revealed today show an almost identical footprint, scale and height to the previously consented scheme but include around 7,000 additional seats. Liverpool said the plans would provide an improved match-day experience for supporters through the enhanced sports bar/lounge hospitality facilities and a covered fan zone.

The club said it is also exploring the opportunity for permanent permission to use Anfield to host concerts, other major events and a wider range of sports. Liverpool City Council granted temporary planning permission in September 2018 for up to six concerts/major events annually during a six-week period at the end of the football season. This temporary planning permission is due to expire in June 2021.

Through the granting of permanent permission, Liverpool said it hopes to host the likes of boxing, Gaelic games and American football, as well as concerts. The redevelopment would leave the famous Kop as Anfield’s smallest stand. Financial plans were not disclosed, but The Guardian newspaper said Liverpool is targeting a £60m (€70.2m/$77.3m) budget, compared to the £114m spent on the Main Stand.

The first-stage public consultation commences today with an event at Anfield. This phase will run through to December 13, with a second stage to follow in early 2020 when detailed plans will be available.

In a statement, Liverpool’s chief operating officer Andy Hughes said: “For any expansion to the Anfield Road Stand to go ahead we need certainty on three key areas. Firstly, that we are able to reach agreement with local residents, businesses and community groups that they will allow the expansion plan to take place, which will mean closing a short section of Anfield Road between 96 Avenue and Skerries Road.

“Secondly, that we have the right sustainable financial and economic model in place to deliver a long-term sustainable Anfield. And lastly, that we are able to successfully navigate the complex planning landscape. We need to be satisfied on all three points for work to proceed.

“We are working towards creating an expanded Anfield Road Stand which will see around 7,000 additional seats. The majority of these seats will be for general admission use and we expect some seats will be allocated for a sports bar/lounge-type hospitality in order to ensure the economic viability of the expansion. Further profiling is needed and we expect to provide more detail at the second-stage consultation early next year.

“These first-stage consultation sessions we are holding are crucial as they will be used to inform the design proposals we are developing, which in turn will help us to make a decision on whether to proceed with the expansion as a whole.”

Images: Liverpool FC