Everton’s community input has ‘evolved’ new stadium plans

Richard Kenyon, the director of marketing, communications and community for Everton FC, has given details of how one of the largest public consultations ever held in the UK has impacted the next stage of the Premier League club’s Bramley-Moore Dock stadium project.

Kenyon presented to an audience of industry experts at TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit 2019 in London last month, explaining how the Merseyside club plans to develop its new home at Bramley-Moore Dock, within Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters development, and hopes to move into the stadium in 2023.

The club received more than 43,000 responses during the consultation, with 96 per cent backing the plans and 98 per cent supporting the proposed Bramley-Moore Dock waterfront design. The outline design for the redevelopment of Goodison Park has been supported by 92 per cent of respondents.

On Friday, Everton announced that it will submit a planning application for its proposed new 52,000-seat stadium on December 23, with the club stating that the recent consultation process has led to an “evolution” rather than major changes to the design.

The forthcoming planning application to Liverpool City Council will be followed by a separate outline planning application for the redevelopment of Goodison Park, Everton’s current home, with the intention for both applications to be determined at the same time.

During TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit, Kenyon explained the several reasons why the club eventually decided to build a brand new stadium, rather than refurbish Goodison Park.

First, around 40 per cent of seats at the current stadium suffer from obstructed or restricted views creating a diminished fan experience for many at games. In addition, the current location is not viable to redevelop and expand, as it is landlocked by housing and roads, meaning the costs and upheaval of the local community would be too great.

Kenyon noted, however, that these factors opened up an opportunity for the club to develop a new stadium plan elsewhere in the city, which ended up landing on Bramley-Moore Dock. He said the positives of the site include its proximity to Goodison Park, the fact that it remains in North Liverpool and is close to the city centre. Kenyon also highlighted that the new site has good connections to public transport and would bring in 1.5 million new visitors to the city region.

Meanwhile, Goodison Park will not be abandoned, but instead will undergo major changes via a “unique regeneration initiative” led by the club. Everton plans to create a £100m civic inheritance community campus, enabling the growth of its ‘Everton in the Community’ programme, which hosts 40 social programmes from youth engagement, employer training, and sport development, among others.

The Goodison Legacy project, which has been supported by 95 per cent of the community, will transform the area around the demolished stadium, to bring in new housing, as well as a £4.2m-redeveloped Everton Free School, a £1.2m People’s Hub and an £800,000 Blue Base.

The club said on Friday that the December 23 submission will coincide with the release of new images of the final designs. Writing in a blog post, Everton’s stadium development director, Colin Chong, said: “As the new visuals will show, it is a case of evolution rather than any major changes to the design presented during the second stage consultation.

“The results of that consultation made it clear Dan Meis’ design was incredibly well received. The elements that the feedback told us people really loved about the design – the use of brick, the steepness of the stands, the respect to the area’s heritage and nod to Archibald Leitch’s architecture in the brickwork as well as the blending of new and old – are all present within our final proposals.”

Images: Everton FC