Plans for the construction of a new £500m Everton Football Stadium took a step forward as a report conducted by the Liverpool City Council recommended approval of the project. The most controversial issue is the location. After having reviewed 52 possible sites, the club proposes Bramley-Moore Dock, which is within the confines of the city's historic docks, a World Heritage Site.
Heritage bodies, the Victorian Society and Historic England, and UNESCO, (via ICOMOS), raised objections. Nonetheless, the club worked with the organisations, adapting the plans to their concerns, with the former actually having an input on the design. The report did recognise the concerns raised, but concluded that the plan seeks to integrate the historic features, thus would create “heritage benefits” by "enhancing degraded on-site heritage assets, improving access to the World Heritage Site and unlocking access to the history".
The public consultation, which involved more than 63,000 people, found overwhelming support for the project, even amongst rival Liverpool fans who approved the project at 86%. It is estimated that it will add £1.3bl to the local economy, badly needed in the current coronavirus environment. The stadium will also be used as a conference and exhibition centre and may be home to up to four other major events per year, for example, concerts or other sporting events.
A special planning committee will review the plans on the 23rd of February, and all going well, would be referred to the central government for a final decision.
It is hoped that construction will begin in the summer, and that Everton will begin playing homes games in the stadium in 2024, just in time for Carlos Ancelotti to parade Everton’s first Premiership, (First Division), title in 37 years in front of 52,888 fans who still believe in Santy!!!