Everton stadium is ‘critical’ to recovery of north Liverpool 

News that work is to start on Everton’s £500m stadium highlights why the project is critical to the future of North Liverpool and matters more than World Heritage Status. Tony McDonough reports

Image of Everton FC’s new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock


Everton’s new £500m stadium in Liverpool’s northern docklands is set to be the catalyst for one of the most critical regeneration projects in the history of the city.

On Thursday, Everton FC announced it would take possession of Bramley-Moore Dock on July 26, along with its main contractor Laing O’Rourke. This will kick-start the first phase of development on the 52,888 capacity arena.

Bramley-Moore Dock is part of Peel L&P’s £5bn Liverpool Waters project and the importance of the new stadium goes way beyond the needs of Everton. It has the potential to transform what is one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

North Liverpool has long been recognised as an area of high deprivation. Problems with poverty, poor housing, lack of opportunities and crime are deep-rooted and stretch back decades.

It has been estimated the stadium will deliver a £1bn boost to the city’s economy and provide up to 15,000 jobs for local people (12,000 during the construction phase). It is also estimated that it will attract around 1.4m visitors to the city and more than £255m will be spent through the local supply chains.

The scheme will also accelerate other local development – Liverpool Waters and Ten Streets – worth more than £650m and provide an annual boost of £2.1m in Council Tax receipts and Business Rates income of £1.7m per year.

No one would pretend the stadium will be a panacea for all of the north end’s problems which need a long-term multi-pronged approach, but it does offer a fantastic springboard for a new era of regeneration that will hopefully spread out from the north docks into areas such as Kirkdale, Walton and Anfield.

With the stadium now going ahead that will also see the acceleration of Everton’s plans to create a number of developments in and around their current home at Goodison Park in Walton, creating a legacy that will benefit the area for decades.

Chris Capes, Director of Development for Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters, said: “The confirmation that work will be able to start onsite at Bramley-Moore Dock is fantastic news.

“With this massive investment in the most northern part of Liverpool Waters, the stadium development will accelerate the regeneration of the waterfront and bring employment and investment into north Liverpool’s most deprived wards, with the whole city region benefitting.”

This is perhaps why Liverpool’s stand-off with UNESCO, now almost a decade, over the city’s World Heritage Status (WHS) is so important. While city leaders would like to keep the accolade, which may be taken away at a meeting later this month, there is also a determination that the ongoing regeneration of Liverpool will not be derailed.

UNESCO considers the stadium to be “completely unacceptable” mainly due to the infilling of the Grade II-listed Bramley Moore Dock. The agency has had multiple issues with development of the north docks and its impact on the WHS but it is the stadium that has brought things to a head.

Everton FC
How part of the Goodison Park Legacy Project may look when complete
Joanne Anderson
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson. Picture by Liverpool City Council
Farhad Moshiri
Everton Football Club majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri


Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson said: “The construction start date for Everton’s new football stadium at Bramley Moore Dock is a symbolic moment for the club and it also marks a major milestone for Liverpool, for our north shore and the communities around them.

“The level of investment in this long neglected dock will be truly transformational to our economy and to what is one of the poorest parts of the city, for many years to come. I’m also encouraged by the lengths Everton are going to ensure the historic fabric of the dock and its heritage assets are going to be upgraded.”

Kim Johnson, MP for Riverside which includes Liverpool Waters, added: “The start of construction at Bramley-Moore Dock marks the beginning of a new era for North Liverpool.

“This project comes at a very important time in the city’s recovery from the pandemic and will be regarded as one of the biggest projects on-site in the UK. A new Everton stadium will have a positive impact on the city’s economy and will attract visitors to the Riverside constituency.

“I look forward to working with Everton to ensure that this transformational project delivers inclusive growth for local people and businesses – especially those from the most underrepresented parts of our community.”

Everton are continuing to play their cards close to their chest in terms of who will be the main funder of the stadium. Majority shareholder Farad Moshiri is to fund the initial enabling works at the site which are expected to last 32 weeks. It pretty much includes everything up to the construction of the arena itself.

It is another statement of intent from Mr Moshiri, who this week appointed former Liverpool FC manager Rafa Benitez as Everton’s new playing boss. He controls the club via his Heaven Holdings Limited vehicle and he has already either invested or pledged £650m into Everton.

Everton has yet to say who will fund the main phases of the stadium project but a source at the club told LBN there is no way Mr Moshiri would have committed to funding the initial phase if there wasn’t a high degree of confidence that the main funder would be secured. The project, the source said, is in a “solid position”.

First phase work will include the repair and preservation of the Grade II-listed dock wall, stabilising of the hydraulic tower located on the site, the development of welfare facilities for Laing O’Rourke construction staff, the preparation for demolition of existing non-listed structures, and raking of the dock floor.

Pipework will also be installed that will be used for the infilling of the dock. Once these works are completed, Laing O’Rourke will begin the process of infilling the dock.

Everton Chairman, Bill Kenwright, said: “We are thrilled to be able to confirm that construction work will commence on our new stadium later this month. This will be a momentous day in the history of the club and is testament to the ambition and financial commitment of Farhad  and the determination and talent of Denise and her executive team at the Club.

“Like every Evertonian Goodison Park has been a massive part of my life but in moving forward we could not have found a more fitting nor more glorious site for our new stadium – one which will both honour our history and celebrate our magnificent future.”

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