Combined Authority approves investment in Everton stadium project

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has today (Friday) signed off on a funding package of up to £45m (€52.6m/$61.6m) to support work linked to the development of Everton’s new stadium, with the Premier League football club stating the verdict is “testament to the impact” the project will have on communities across the region.

The funding plans were first announced last week, and have been rubber-stamped today. A grant of up to £15m will assist with infrastructure and heritage work including preserving historic features, restoring derelict land, and providing public access to the stadium site at Bramley-Moore Dock.

A loan of up to £30m will also contribute towards the overall project to build the club’s new 52,888-seat stadium. Everton CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, said: “From the very inception of our new stadium plans – and the 11 key principles that underpin it – we have been focused on not only delivering a world-class new home for our club, but also a truly transformative regeneration project for the north of Liverpool and the wider city region.

“We have worked closely with the Metro Mayor and local civic leaders throughout the project towards that objective. The approval today by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for a grant of up to £15m and a loan of up to £30m, to help us facilitate our vision, is a testament to the impact our stadium project and the redevelopment of Goodison Park will have for communities across our region.

“Our new home will be a world-class sporting arena. A home fit for Everton Football Club And it will bring with it economic regeneration, job creation, new visitors to our city and a wealth of opportunities for thousands of local people, breathing new life into the north of Liverpool and acting as a catalyst to accelerate other redevelopment projects in the area.

“The Combined Authority has demonstrated its appreciation of that vision and the importance of our project in the renaissance of north Liverpool. The authority’s support and investment in helping make that a reality is greatly appreciated.”

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.

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.

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.

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. Barrett-Baxendale hailed the ceremony as a “proud and momentous day” in the club’s history.

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