Government asks for more time on Everton stadium

Secretary of State Robert Jenrick has asked for more time to decide if Everton’s £500m stadium in Liverpool docklands can go ahead. Tony McDonough reports

Everton, Liverpool Waters
Image of Everton’s new £500m stadium at Bramley Moore Dock


Everton FC and its fans face a longer wait to see if their new £500m stadium can go ahead after the Government asked for more time to make a decision on the project.

In February, Liverpool City Council planners approved the application to build the 52,888-capacity arena at Bramley Moore Dock in Liverpool Waters. Everton are hoping to start work on the three-year build this summer.

However, the scheme awaits final approval from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick. He was initially given 21 days to give his verdict but, given the scale of the development, he has now asked for more time.

A public consultation showed the people of Liverpool were overwhelmingly in favour of the project that would see Everton move out of its Goodison Park home in time for the 2024/25 Premier League Season. Local politicians and business leaders are also strongly in favour.

But there is strong opposition to the plan from UNESCO, Heritage England and the Victorian Society. They object to the filling of the Grade II-listed Bramley Moore Dock in the city’s Northern Docklands.

In the light of those objections here are fears Mr Jenrick will ‘call in’ the scheme. This would lead to a delay of at least several months while the plan was being considered by a planning inspector at an inquiry. 

here was one suggestion he may call in the scheme to placate UNESCO. It is already at odds with the global heritage body over plans to build a road tunnel under Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

A council spokesman confirmed to the BBC that Mr Jenrick had requested the extension. The spokesman said: “This instruction has been accepted in accordance with national planning law.”

It is estimated the new stadium it will deliver £1.3bn in benefits to the economy, more than 15,000 jobs, during construction and afterwards, and an extra £1.7m in business rates. Everton has also submitted plans for several legacy projects around Goodison Park.

Once built, the stadium will be able to host four major non-football events (concerts or other sporting events) as well as conferences, exhibitions, banqueting, weddings and tours throughout the year.

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