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Everton stadium project set for funding boost

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has announced plans to invest up to £45m (€52.7m/$62.1m) in work connected to Everton’s new stadium, while the English Premier League football club is reportedly set to raise up to £350m in funding for the project through the private placement market.

The Combined Authority has said it will seek to support the “transformational regeneration” of large parts of north Liverpool and south Sefton by supporting work linked to the development of the stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Next week, local leaders will consider a grant of up to £15m to assist with infrastructure work to public space and heritage sites on the land around Bramley-Moore. This would include preserving historic features, restoring derelict land, and providing public access to the docks.

The Combined Authority will also consider a loan of up to £30m towards the overall project to build the club’s new 52,888-seat stadium. The wider stadium project is looked upon as a “vital catalyst” for regeneration of Liverpool’s north docks and the area around Goodison Park, Everton’s current home.

Everton forecasts the project will offer a boost of more than £1bn to the city region’s economy, attract 1.4 million visitors to the region each year and deliver an additional £237m of social value.

The Combined Authority’s funding would come with conditions – including that Everton commit to targets for employment and training opportunities for local residents and the achievement of social value.

As well as providing jobs and apprenticeships and stimulating the area’s regeneration, the loan would offer a return on investment, plus interest that could be used to fund other projects and services across the city region.

As part of the deal, Everton will lead on campaigns focusing on chronic health issues in north Liverpool. Increased funding for the club’s charity, Everton in the Community, will allow an expansion of its work in education, training, employment, youth projects, reducing crime and violence, supporting asylum seekers and veterans and health and wellbeing.

In a joint statement, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Cllr Mike Wharton, Leader, Halton Borough Council, Cllr Louise Harbour, Deputy Leader, Knowsley Borough Council, Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Ian Maher, Leader, Sefton Borough Council, Cllr David Baines, Leader, St. Helens Borough Council and Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader, Wirral Borough Council said:

“The Combined Authority exists to drive economic regeneration, create jobs and opportunities for local people, and breathe new life into an area that has continually been left behind by national governments.

“Devolution is all about local leaders taking control of our own destiny and working with local people to shape the future we want for our region. This project stands as one of the most significant regeneration projects our region has seen in more than a decade and will be a major catalyst for regeneration and revival in an area that has been crying out for investment for decades.

“This is not an investment in a football club but in an important project that will generate a myriad of social and economic benefits for communities across our region. From creating thousands of jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities for local people, attracting hundreds of thousands of new visitors to our region and launching programmes that will help to tackle health and social inequalities, whilst supporting the vulnerable within our communities.

“The financial returns generated from this investment will ensure that we are able to invest in further regeneration projects and services across the city region. Given austerity and the financial constraints that local councils continued to face, this is an innovative way of generating new money and investing to improve our region.”

After moving to the new stadium, Everton will redevelop Goodison Park as part of a project which alone is forecast to create more than £58.2m worth of social value, driven by increased wellbeing in the area. Outline planning consent has already been granted and the club is committed to starting work on the Goodison site within three years of moving to Bramley-Moore Dock.

A report going before the Combined Authority next Friday states: “The project provides the opportunity for transformational regeneration of North Liverpool and South Sefton/Bootle areas. It comprises a number of elements: the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, the Goodison Legacy Project; and wider and accelerated regeneration of the Northern Docks area, alongside expanding the outreach and offering of Everton in the Community’s activities.”

The report adds: “The stadium is anticipated to attract further investment in the Northern Liverpool Docks area in a way no other commercial project is likely to achieve with wider impact spreading into adjacent areas such as South Sefton.”

The Combined Authority claims the grant would help cover the higher cost of developing a “challenging and historic” dockland site and would fund work of a non-commercial nature.

In other news, the GlobalCapital website reports Everton is moving closer to securing the majority of funding needed to develop its new home.

Everton in 2019 engaged international banks MUFG and JP Morgan to help find lenders and it has now been reported that they are to officially find a number of investors to secure between £300m and £350m through a private placement.

On August 10, Everton celebrated the latest milestone in the development of its new stadium after the club staged a project commencement ceremony to mark the breaking of ground in the construction of the £500m venue.

Everton officially began work on the stadium on July 26 but last month marked the groundbreaking ceremony for the project. Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale hailed the ceremony as a “proud and momentous day” in the club’s history.

Liverpool’s World Heritage status was revoked in July amid concerns over developments at the city’s waterfront, with the new Everton stadium cited as one of the reasons. Everton’s stadium development director, Colin Chong, later reiterated that respecting and enhancing heritage at Bramley Moore Dock has always been one of Everton’s “key principles”, adding that the club will be investing more than £55m to preserve, restore and celebrate the heritage assets at the site.

Everton was officially cleared to begin work on the stadium in March after its planning application received Government approval. Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee unanimously approved the plans on February 23.

Image: Everton