A report by Liverpool City Council has recommended that Everton’s plans for a new 52,000-seat stadium be approved at a meeting next week.
The Premier League club confirmed yesterday (Monday) that the council would meet to decide on its stadium planning application at a meeting on February 23. The meeting will also discuss Everton’s plans for a legacy project on the site of its current home, Goodison Park.
A report published yesterday by the city council’s planning officer has recommended that the committee approve plans for the stadium, which would be located on Bramley-Moore Dock on the city’s waterfront. In a letter to Everton fans, club chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale said that the recommendation has been made following a “very thorough review” of the club’s application.
Barrett-Baxendale added: “Our stadium director Colin Chong and I will be presenting the club’s case at the meeting next week to underline how important this stadium is – not only to our football club but also to our city, our region and our country at such an unprecedented time in our history.
“If the planning committee agree with the recommendations of the report at the meeting next week, then the next step will be for the application to be referred to the Secretary of State – a standard procedure for an application of such scale.
“So, as we enter what is a crucial stage in our new stadium project, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support and patience on this journey so far. As always, I will ensure that you are kept informed with all the relevant updates over the coming weeks – and I know you will be thinking of us and wishing us well at our important meeting with the council next week.”
Everton had been hoping for a decision from the council at some point in December but the verdict was pushed back.
Everton revealed amendments to its initial plans in August last year following objections from heritage groups. Changes included a new river-facing plaza and the removal of the multi-storey car park at the West Stand end of the stadium, while solar panels originally proposed on the West Quay were relocated to the roof.
The council report released this week claims that the new stadium would enable Everton to “keep pace” with its Premier League rivals and that the public benefits of the ground would far outweigh the “heritage harm”.
Everton is hopeful of moving to its new stadium by as early as 2024 and the 12-step construction process spelled out in the report would make this possible. The project is expected to cost around £500m (€573m/$696m).