Everton FC has been given the green light by Liverpool City Council to move forward with construction proposals of its new stadium.
The planned venue, which will be located at Bramley-Moore Dock on the banks of the River Mersey and contain 52,888 seats, was unanimously approved on 23 February.
Funding for the project, which is estimated to cost over £500 million and has a 150-week build plan, will come from Farhard Moshiri – the majority shareholder – as well as from private loans, a small number of grants and income generated from last year’s training ground title sponsorship deal with USM.
Describing the council’s approval as a ‘very important step,’ Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright said: “Whilst today is just one more step in our long journey, it is a very important one. It’s been a good week for Everton and Evertonians.”
The next stage for the football club will be to gain the approval of Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
“I am sure you are aware of how important a new stadium will be for us – providing the state-of-the-art facilities befitting of an ambitious Premier League club – as well as the important role it can play in boosting our local economy at a time when it’s never been more needed,” said Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Executive of Everton, in an email to Toffees supporters.
“The project, which will be one the most significant infrastructure projects our city has seen in many years and one of the largest single-site developments in the country at this time, will provide a £1.3 billion boost to the local economy and deliver more than 15,000 jobs.
“If we achieve the final planning approval we have all worked so hard for, then we will be in a position to complete our funding arrangements and confirm our schedule for the build process at Bramley-Moore Dock.”
Although the development has widespread local support, ICOMOS has raised concerns on behalf of UNESCO, the Victorian Society and Historic England, the latter of which assisted with plans for the design of the stadium.
However, Liverpool Council has argued that the new stadium could deliver ‘historic benefits’ to the city as well as enhancing ‘degraded on-site heritage assets, improving access to the World Heritage Site and unlocking access to the history’.
Everton must also await approval from the Secretary of State for its community-led legacy project at its current home ground, Goodison Park. The plans will see the construction of housing, a health centre, green spaces, retail and business facilities.