On Friday Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the leaders of the six Liverpool city region local authorities approved a £45m funding package for Everton FC’s new £500m stadium. Tony McDonough reports
Everton Football Club has secured a funding package worth up to £45m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA) for its £500m stadium project.
On Friday Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the leaders of the six local authorities – Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, Halton and St Helens – voted in favour of supporting the scheme which is already under way in LIverpool’s northern docklands.
The package will see a grant of up to £15m to assist with infrastructure work to public space and heritage sites on and around Bramley-Moore Dock. It will also see a loan of up to £30m towards the construction costs of the 52,888-seat waterfront arena.
Everton FC chief executive, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, said: “From the very inception of our new stadium plans – and the 11 key principles that underpin it – we have been focused on not only delivering a world-class new home for our club, but also a truly transformative regeneration project for the north of Liverpool and the wider city region.
“We have worked closely with the Metro Mayor and local civic leaders throughout the project towards that objective.
“The approval today for a grant of up to £15m and a loan of up to £30m, to help us facilitate our vision, is a testament to the impact our stadium project and the redevelopment of Goodison Park will have for communities across our region.
“Our new home will be a world-class sporting arena. A home fit for Everton Football Club! And it will bring with it economic regeneration, job creation, new visitors to our city and a wealth of opportunities for thousands of local people, breathing new life into the north of Liverpool and acting as a catalyst to accelerate other redevelopment projects in the area.
“The Combined Authority has demonstrated its appreciation of that vision and the importance of our project in the renaissance of north Liverpool. The authority’s support and investment in helping make that a reality is greatly appreciated.”
Everton FC and its main contractor Laing O’Rourke broke ground at Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool Waters in August. It is hoped Everton will leave its current home at Goodison Park in Walton and kick off the 2024/25 Premier League season at the stadium.
The entire build is scheduled to take around 150 weeks in 12 separate phases. The initial enabling works are expected to take 32 weeks and are being funded by majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
However, Everton has yet to reveal the details of the main source of funding for the stadium construction. In 2018 the then Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said the city was willing to lend the club half the £500m cost. However, the idea was abandoned with Everton insisting it would meet the whole of the cost.
It has been estimated the stadium project will offer a boost of £1.3bn to the local economy, attract an extra 1.4m visitors to the region each year and deliver an additional £237m of social value.
The Combined Authority’s funding comes with conditions, which include a commitment from the club to targets for employment and training opportunities for local residents.
A joint statement from the Metro Mayor and the council leaders said: “The Combined Authority exists to drive economic regeneration, create jobs and opportunities for local people, and breathe new life into an area that has continually been left behind by national governments.
“Devolution is all about local leaders taking control of our own destiny and working with local people to shape the future we want for our region.
“This project stands as one of the most significant regeneration projects our region has seen in more than a decade and will be a major catalyst for regeneration and revival in an area that has been crying out for investment for decades.
“This is not an investment in a football club but in an important project that will generate a myriad of social and economic benefits for communities across our region. The financial returns generated from this investment will ensure that we are able to invest in further regeneration projects and services across the city region.”