Liverpool has today (Wednesday) launched the second-stage public consultation of the proposed expansion of its Anfield Road Stand, with the English Premier League football club stating it hopes the £60m (€71.3m/$77.9m) project will be complete before the start of the 2022-23 season.
Local residents, representatives, businesses and supporters have been invited to review the club’s updated plans for its Anfield stadium, which have been reworked based on feedback received in the initial stage of public consultation held in December.
During the first stage more than 800 responses were received. Liverpool said the majority of the feedback, some 93%, was positive and supportive of the club’s vision, along with some “constructive feedback” from local residents on the impact of the proposed closure of a section of Anfield Road.
Based on this feedback, the club’s second-stage plans now see Anfield Road realigned around the footprint of the proposed expanded stand. The club has also progressed discussions on the design and configuration of the proposed redeveloped stand. An outline of the number of general admission seats within the stand would be 5,200, with around 1,800 lounge/sports bar-style hospitality options.
Andy Hughes, chief operating officer at Liverpool, said in a statement: “The feedback of our local residents has been essential to the planning process of this proposed expansion. We have been very clear from the start that we will only proceed with this project if we have their co-operation, we have a financial model which offers economic stability and we can navigate the complex planning landscape.
“These updated plans reflect that we have listened and we thank all of those people who took the time to share their views with us in the initial stage of this process and look forward to more thoughts on the updates we have made.”
The second stage of public consultation will see three public drop-in events take place at Anfield between today and February 24. A pop-up information stand will also be in place at Anfield Road for the Premier League match against West Ham United on February 24. Stage-two public consultation will end on February 28, at which point feedback will be assessed ahead of the intended submission of a planning application to Liverpool City Council in the spring.
Hughes told the Liverpool Echo newspaper that the club aims to start construction before the end of the year, with the summer of 2022 targeted as an opening date. He added: “This consultation is a really important process and I think we’ve demonstrated that through the first round; there have been some concerns raised and we’ve relooked at the design and we need to go through that process again through this second round.
“Planning is a really big hurdle for us and we’ll be working really heavily on that through the next four, five or six months. And ultimately, the finances need to make sense in terms of the build cost when we finally understand that and the schedule. I think it’s a bit early to say it’s definitely summer 2022 but, assuming everything goes to plan and there are no major hurdles on the way, then that is our target date.”
The Anfield Road project will reportedly cost around £60m, but no money will be loaned from club owner Fenway Sports Group. By contrast, FSG provided a £110m loan for the redevelopment of Anfield’s Main Stand.
The latest phase of Anfield’s redevelopment would see overall capacity rise from around 54,000 to over 61,000, if the plans are approved. 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. Liverpool revealed initial design plans for a new 16,000-seat Anfield Road Stand back in November.
The new plans show an almost identical footprint, scale and height to the previously consented scheme but include around 7,000 additional seats taking it up to a 16,000 capacity. Liverpool said the plans would provide an improved match-day experience for supporters through enhanced sports bar/lounge hospitality facilities and a covered fan zone.
Image: Liverpool FC