Heads of Liverpool Bid Company, Downtown in Business and Professional Liverpool says the £500m stadium plan offers a massive boost to the Mersey economy. Tony McDonough reports
Leaders of several Liverpool city region business organisations are backing Everton’s FC’s plan to build a £500m docklands stadium and create legacy projects in its current Walton home.
Heads of organisations such as the Liverpool Bid Company, Downtown in Business, Professional Liverpool as well those at Liverpool One and the North West’s largest residential landlord Torus have all put their weight behind The People’s Project.
It comprises a 52,000-capacity arena at Bramley Moore Dock in Peel L&P’s £5bn Liverpool Waters scheme and a a large-scale community-regeneration project around the site of its current Goodison Park stadium.
Everton is on track to submit a planning application later this year for a stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. At the same time, the club will submit an outline planning application for the redevelopment of Goodison Park to create new community assets.
An initial consultation on the People’s Project was backed by the majority of the 20,000 members of the public who took part. A second consultation started on Friday, July 26, and runs until Sunday, August 26, and will also involve a virtual reality interactive exhibition, visiting 12 locations across all six city region boroughs until August 18. The consultation is available online until 25 August.
Earlier this year Lord Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister and long-term champion of Liverpool’s regeneration, described the club’s plans as a “golden opportunity to bring lasting change to the north of the city”. And the business leaders who are now backing the plan are:
- Bill Addy, chief executive of the Liverpool BID Company, which represents the interests of more than 1,500 businesses in Liverpool city centre: “This is a transformational opportunity for the city particularly in the north and it will be the catalyst for its redevelopment, the city’s expansion.”
- Frank McKenna, chief executive of Downtown in Business: “I think the new stadium is an opportunity not just for Everton FC but for the city generally. It will regenerate a part of the city that has for a long time been derelict and has been in much need of improvement.”
- Steve Coffey, group chief executive of Torus, the biggest landlord in the North West with 16,000 homes in Liverpool, said: “This project also fits in with rebalancing the city’s economy, with the jobs that come through in construction and the jobs that will come through in the site afterwards.”
- John Hall, chief executive of Professional Liverpool: “I think it’s brilliant. This is an area of Liverpool – particularly when coming in from Southport – that really does need developing. This will help connect the Titanic Hotel, which is just outside the centre, to the rest of the city. Additionally, it will sit well with Liverpool City Council’s Ten Streets project.”
- Iain Finlayson, business performance director at Liverpool One: “It’s going to inject huge amounts into the economy; it’s going to be brilliant for local employment; it’s going to give a great sense of development down at that end of the city which is going to grow into the city centre.”
Research carried out by international property consultancy CBRE indicates The People’s Project would deliver a £1bn boost to the city’s economy and the potential for up to 15,000 new jobs and £34m of local income to local families.
Two other recent reports have also shown a positive impact. An evaluation by socio-economic specialist consultants, RealWorth, estimates that the three elements of The People’s Project between 2024 and 2033 will be worth £793.4m to society, compared to £556m generated solely through Everton in the Community activity, a difference of more than £237m.
Colin Chong, Everton FC’s stadium development director, said: “The support of all aspects of Liverpool life and from both the public and from key stakeholders across the region is vital in the success of The People’s Project.
“This is not only about football and buildings but also about economic development and social opportunity. It is a project for the whole of the city region whether you are a football fan or not.”