Everton's Bramley-Moore Dock stadium given council approval

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image copyrightEverton
image captionEverton could host games at Bramley-Moore Dock by 2024

Everton FC's plans for a new 52,000-seater stadium have been unanimously approved by city councillors.

The club said the Bramley-Moore Dock site will be a "world-class addition" to the city's waterfront and hopes to host games there in 2024.

The £500m scheme which it's claimed will create 15,000 jobs will now go to the government for the final say.

Outline plans for a series of community-led developments at Everton's Goodison Park site were also approved.

Historic England had objected to the new stadium on Bramley-Moore Dock saying it could harm the city's heritage but this was dismissed by the city's planning committee.

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The Premier League club, which has been at Goodison Park since 1892, said it had been looking for a new home for 25 years due to limitations at its current home.

The development would be the "most inclusive and sustainable" stadium in the UK and would "preserve the area's heritage", Everton's chief executive officer Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale told the meeting.

She said it was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to regenerate one of the city's most deprived areas, creating thousands of jobs and be a "key part in the region's post-pandemic recovery plan".

Under the plans, the 52,888-seater ground could host up to four pop concerts a year as well as weddings, funerals, Christmas parties and conferences.

And the club's current Goodison Park site is to be converted to "high-quality, affordable housing, a health centre, retail and leisure spaces and a youth enterprise zone" for the Walton community.

image copyrightEverton
image captionThe ground would be built within Liverpool's World Heritage Site

By BBC Merseyside political reporter Claire Hamilton

"I've got shivers down my spine. First the derby and then this - what a week!"

Everton fans have a lot to celebrate. After a 25-year search, a new stadium could be on the horizon.

That famous horizon - Liverpool's waterfront - is a World Heritage site. It's been on UNESCO's "in danger" list since plans for tall buildings were first mooted in 2012.

Those skyscrapers haven't materialised, and this stadium might beat them to it.

The planning committee had to decide whether the public benefit of the new stadium outweighed the harm to the heritage assets of the site... and they decided that they did.

The Secretary of State will now decide whether to overturn or uphold the committee's decision, and the UNESCO World Heritage status will be reviewed later this year.

Club 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."

Historic England said that while it supports Everton's need for a "state-of-the-art" stadium and the benefits it could bring, it advised the council to refuse the application.

In a statement, it said the plan to infill the dock would "fundamentally change its historic character" and result in "substantial harm" to the significance of the Grade II listed dock.

It added it could also damage the waterfront's World Heritage Site status.

image copyrightEverton FC
image captionThe news was a "very important step", says Everton FC chairman Bill Kenwright

The club said it had committed to spending £55m in preserving and celebrating the heritage assets as well as creating a heritage centre around the currently derelict Hydraulic Tower.

Green party group leader councillor Tom Crone had raised concerns about the environmental impact of the scheme.

He said he felt "reasonably reassured" with the club promising alternative forms of transport but added that would like to see "good footpaths" to the stadium.

The proposals will now be referred to the Secretary for State of Housing, Communities and Local Government for consideration.

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