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Everton Take a Step Closer to a New Stadium

Everton Take a Step Closer to a New Stadium

Recent developments have seen Everton Football Club take a step closer to realising their plans for a new stadium in Liverpool, which will allow it to finally move out of its Goodison Park stadium.

The club has been exploring the options for building a new stadium for several years. In 2009, the club was dealt a major blow from the UK Government when it rejected the club's plans to open a new stadium in the Merseyside town of Kirkby.

This £400 million project—called Destination Kirkby—would feature a 50,000-capacity stadium, a new Tesco supermarket, a retail park, a new bus station and even a new hotel. A number of citizen-led pressure groups had been against the new development, including Everton fans who wanted to keep the club inside the city of Liverpool and local residents who feared public money was being wasted.

Rising from the Ashes

After a long time searching for a new site and new design, in 2017 the club's management announced it wanted to build its new stadium on the Liverpool waterfront at the former Bramley-Moore Dock site. A new set of plans was revealed in 2018 by New York architectural firm MEIS Architects.

Initial Council Reception

The new plans were well-received by the Liverpool City Council and the city's Mayor Joe Anderson, who announced that they would invest £20 million in new road infrastructure around the site and had even drawn up plans for a new train station.

Final Designs and Public Consultation

After learning the lessons of the failed Destination Kirkby project, Everton set about engaging with the public on their new plans with a two-stage consultation process. The second stage was launched in July 2019, along with the release of the final designs for the stadium, giving it the name "The People's Project".

It was reported that these final designs would come with an £800 million price tag for the construction costs.

New Everton stadium

The Public Verdict

After several months of engaging with fans, neighbours, and other interested stakeholders, Everton received an overwhelmingly-positive response. Of the 43,000 people that responded to the club's request for feedback on their plans, 96% supported them. Ninety-eight percent were also in favour of the final design for the stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, which will have the capacity for 52,000 spectators.

Silver Lining to a Grey Cloud Season

While things are looking up for Everton off the pitch, they haven't been going as well for them on it. The team currently sits in the bottom half of the Premier League table, and while it is still currently unlikely, their relegation at the end of the season is still probable, according to the main bookmakers.

Of the 20 games they've played so far this season, they've lost nine, drawn 4, and won only 7. Their late December games have not gone too badly, though, with the Blues beating Newcastle 2-1 on 28th December and winning 1-0 against Burnley on Boxing Day. However, they have some tough games coming up, with their next two games being against Manchester City and Liverpool.

What's Next for the Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium?

Following the positive responses from the public, the team have submitted their plans to the Liverpool City Council so that they can gain planning permission. Once this process has been completed, the club can begin construction work at the site.

Planning permission is expected to be approved, as the club's consultation with the public was designed to demonstrate widespread support for their plans. It has done everything in its power to not have a repeat of the Destination Kirkby project.

Providing all goes smoothly, the new stadium is expected to be ready in either 2023 or 2024. Depending on the timing of this, and whether Everton want to change stadiums mid-season, it could mean that games are not played at Bramley-Moore Dock until 2025.

These timescales also assume that planning permission is granted swiftly by the council and that construction works do not overrun. Given that the new stadium is on the site of a former dock, and within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it seems quite feasible that delays could occur.

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