Planners give go ahead to £60m Anfield extension

Planners in Liverpool have given the go-ahead to Liverpool FC’s plans for a £60m expansion of its Anfield Road stand despite objections over the removal of 27 trees. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool FC
Liverpool FC is to upgrade its Anfield Road stand in a £60m project


Liverpool FC has secured planning permission to embark on a £60m expansion of its Anfield Road stand, taking the total stadium capacity to 61,000.

Despite a number of concerns raised by residents and local councillors, the city council’s planning committee gave the green light, with the vote 6-2 in favour, to the project that will see an extra 7,000 seats added to the stand.

Expected to take 18 months, the scheme will take spending by Liverpool FC’s owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), on the world famous stadium up to £170m after they invested £110m to rebuild the main stand, a job completed in 2016. FSG also spent £50m on a new first team training ground at Kirkby to replace Melwood.

Opposition to the scheme has come from people concerned about the impact on nearby Stanley Park. Of particular concern was the 27 trees that would have to be removed as part of the development. Speaking at the committee meeting, Sam Ryan from LFC said the trees need to be removed to met Uefa broadcasting requirements.

But she pointed out that a number of the trees were dead or dying and others were in a dangerous condition. She that 72 trees would be planted in Stanley Park to replace those being lost.

However, Anfield Labour councillor Lena Simic told the meeting that many of the trees being removed still had plenty of life left in them. Stressing that she wasn’t against the expansion of the ground, she added: “This park was created for public benefit, it has been loved by citizens for over 150 years.”

The club’s chief operating office Andy Hughes also addressed the committee. He said: “The club has been investing significant sums into Stanley Park over many years. We’ve spent over £20m on the restoration of the park and this proposal involves us investing more.

“We have made really significant contributions to the park and continue to take it really seriously.”

Liverpool FC, Anfield
Liverpool FC also spent £100m rebuilding its main stand


A new family fan zone and new hospitality lounges are included in the proposal and the club is also seeking permission for up to six non-sporting events a year to be held at the ground for a further five years.

In their report recommending approval, city planning officers said: “The new stand offers a design proposal of the same architectural language as the new main stand, and the materials are appropriate and of sufficiently high quality for the location.

“Although the stand would be taller and closer to the park (Stanley Park) than the existing stand, it has been concluded that heritage the impact would not be significantly greater than the existing stadium. 

“The new public realm design would offer a more fitting edge to the park than the existing Anfield Road car park and offer opportunities for artwork to be incorporated.”

In March, FSG sold a 10% stake in its business to a private investment firm part-owned by the former NBA star LeBron James in a £533m deal. The investment by RedBird Capital Partners valued FSG, also the owner of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, at around £5.33bn.

The cash injection will allow FSG to press ahead with the Anfield Road project but is unlikely to mean extra transfer funds for Reds manager Jurgen Klopp.

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