In what is believed to be the largest commercial public consultation in Liverpool’s history, more than 43,000 people submitted their views on the new arena and Goodison legacy project. Tony McDonough reports
Everton has secured almost universal public approval for its plans for a £500m stadium in Liverpool’s docklands and a legacy project around its current home at Goodison Park.
In what is believed to be the largest commercial public consultation in Liverpool’s history, more than 43,000 people submitted their view on the 52,000-seat arena at Bramley Moore Dock and community-led scheme in Walton – and 96% were in favour.
Support for the proposed design of the arena, which would be located within Peel’s £5bn Liverpool Waters development, was even higher with 98% saying they approved. The outline design for redevelopment of Goodison Park was supported by 92% of respondents.
The club is now set to push on with submitting a planning application for the stadium to Liverpool City Council by the end of 2019. However, Everton has yet to confirm the funding for the project is in place. The city council has offered a loan for around half the cost but the club is believed to seeking to raise the whole amount itself.
The second stage of the People’s Project public consultation ran during July and August 2019 and included a 19-day touring exhibition that visited 12 locations across all six Liverpool city region boroughs. The consultation also sought views on the plans for transport, heritage and the environment as part of the project.
The touring exhibition events were attended by more than 15,000 people and included a stunning virtual reality experience giving users a chance to fly over the new stadium, place themselves in the centre circle and enjoy the view from the proposed giant home stand on matchday.
In addition to the events, the club also received responses through dedicated digital channels as well as a postal survey for residents living around Bramley-Moore Dock and Goodison Park.
Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief executive of Everton FC, said: “These results are a huge vote of confidence in our continuing plans for all aspects of the People’s Project. This is a really important milestone and having the level of support we have from the public means we can submit for planning before the end of this year with confidence.
“The opinions, ideas and observations we’ve received will be used by the project team to inform the next steps of the project – as well as being included as part of our final planning applications.”
Two reports, from property consultancy CBRE and socio-economic specialists Real Worth, claim the project could deliver a £1bn boost to the city’s economy and up to 15,000 new jobs with £34m of income going to local families. In addition, the People’s Project will attract 1.4m new visitors to the city on an annual basis and deliver £237m of additional societal value.
Over the course of the two-stage consultation, more than 63,000 responses were received, with Everton’s approach to engagement and consultation heralded as exemplar by industry experts.
The club’s first stage public consultation was also met with overwhelming support with 94 per cent of the 20,168 respondents backing the principle of a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and 95% supporting Everton’s plans for a community-led regeneration at Goodison Park.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We have been working with Everton from the start of this project and what has been clear from day one is that this stadium is not just right for the club and their supporters, it’s a development that is right for our dilapidated docklands which sit in one of the poorest areas of the UK.
And, Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor of, added: “Denise and her team have talked me through what are a very impressive set of consultation results. It is clear to see the people of the Liverpool city region are firmly supporting Everton’s plans for a new stadium and a legacy development at Goodison Park.