English Premier League football club Everton has today (Friday) been officially cleared to begin work on its new 52,888-capacity stadium after its planning application received Government approval.
Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has been reviewing Everton’s plans for Bramley-Moore Dock in the north of Liverpool since last month.
The Government review, standard practice for a development of the size and scale of Everton’s stadium plans, was conducted after Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee unanimously approved the plans on February 23.
The Council also approved plans for a community-led legacy project at Goodison Park, Everton’s current home, but there had been fears that a scandal that has enveloped the local authority would impact on the stadium venture.
Jenrick yesterday announced that Government-appointed commissioners would oversee parts of Liverpool City Council following a highly critical report detailing a “serious breakdown of governance”. The authority had been under scrutiny since police commenced a probe into building and development contracts, which saw five men, including then Mayor Joe Anderson, arrested.
However, Everton has today received written confirmation of the Secretary of State’s approval for the plans. The decision allows the club to complete its agreed acquisition of the site at Bramley-Moore Dock from Peel L&P, ensuring Everton can begin to make the plans a reality.
Everton said: “On such a momentous day, the football club would like to thank every Evertonian, along with the many organisations, the tens of thousands of people across the city region and the team of dedicated staff who have played a vital role in ensuring the club reached today’s milestone.”
Everton is hoping to move into its new home in 2024. It had initially been seeking 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 following objections from heritage groups. Changes included a river-facing plaza and the removal of the multi-storey car park at the West End of the stadium.
The project is expected to cost around £500m (€585.3m/$690m) and will create around 15,000 jobs. The design for the stadium includes four distinctive stands, including a steep, 13,000-seat home stand.