Formed in 1938 to help preserve and enhance Merseyside’s built environment, MCS says it is fully behind the Bramley Moore Dock project. Tony McDonough reports
A leading Merseyside campaign group that aims to help preserve and enhance the local built environment is backing Everton FC’s plans for a new stadium in Liverpool’s Docklands.
According to a report in the Liverpool Echo, Merseyside Civic Society (MSC), says the £500m project planned for Bramley Moore Dock in Peel’s Liverpool Waters, will be the catalyst for “a new stage of Liverpool’s extraordinary social and architectural history”.
Just before Christmas, Everton submitted a full planning application for the 52,000-seat arena to Liverpool City Council. If it secures approval in the next few weeks, work on the stadium could begin as early as the spring.
Due to open in time for the 2023-24 Premier League season, the stadium is part of the wider Peoples’ Project, which also includes a community-led scheme for the area around Everton’s current Goodison Park stadium in the Walton district of Liverpool.
According to a study commissioned by the club, the stadium project would have a transformational impact on north Liverpool, kick-starting the regeneration of the northern docklands, contributing a £1bn boost to the city region’s economy, creating up to 15,000 jobs and attracting 1.4m visitors to the city each year.
And, according to the Echo, the MCS has given its backing to the project after being consulted by the club, along with a number of other heritage groups. It said it was “impressed” with the care Everton had taken drawing up the proposals.
At the heart of the proposal is a brick, steel and glass stadium which takes its inspiration from the historic maritime and warehouse buildings nearby. The stadium structure combines the historic and the modern, with the brick base incorporating a subtle nod to Goodison Park’s famous Archibald Leitch lattice work, while the dynamic roof structure made from steel and glass gives the stadium a modern finish.
The project aims to preserve the listed dock walls and maintain a water channel to ensure the visual continuity of the dock system with the historic dock wall on the western side of the channel exposed. The site’s Grade II Listed Hydraulic Tower would be preserved and restored to create a visitor attraction.
MCS was formed in 1938 and campaigns to preserve the best of Merseyside’s existing buildings and spaces and to insist on good quality design for new developments. The Echo report quoted Jean Grant, MCS council member and former chairperson, who said: “The dock wall as an architectural feature has always divided the docks from their workforce and their community.
“A new stage of Liverpool’s extraordinary social and architectural history will begin when the derelict docks are opened up to the community that was their workforce and the public who will provide their income.”