Combined authority approves up to £45m support for new Everton stadium

South stand view of the proposed stadium
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Funding of up to £45m to support the ‘transformational regeneration’ of North Liverpool and South Sefton was today (September 24) approved by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

The package will support work linked to Everton FC’s new £500m stadium development at Bramley-Moore Dock.

A grant of up to £15m will assist with infrastructure and heritage work including preserving historic features, restoring derelict land, and providing public access to the docks.

A loan of up to £30m will also contribute towards the overall project to build the club’s new 52,888-seat stadium.

The wider stadium project will be a vital catalyst for regeneration of Liverpool’s North docks and the area around the Blues’ current home, Goodison Park.

Everton forecast the project will offer a boost of more than £1bn to the city region’s economy, attract 1.4m visitors to the region each year and deliver an additional £237m of social value.

As a condition of the combined authority funding, Everton has committed to targets for employment and training opportunities for local residents and the achievement of social value.

The offer has attracted criticism in some quarters across the region, but the combined authority said that, as well as providing jobs and apprenticeships and stimulating the area’s regeneration, the loan offers a return on investment, plus interest, that could be used to fund other projects and services across the city region.

The stadium will take around three years to build and will become one of North England’s largest construction projects. Overall, the project will create up to 15,000 jobs including new roles at the completed stadium and employment linked to a projected increase in visitors to the city region.

The stadium move will also kickstart the Goodison Legacy Project which will redevelop the club’s existing ground into a mix of housing, retail, office space and facilities for the community.

As part of the deal, Everton will lead on campaigns focusing on chronic health issues in North Liverpool. Increased funding for the club’s charity, Everton in the Community, will allow an expansion of its work in education, training, employment, youth projects, reducing crime and violence, supporting asylum seekers and veterans and health and wellbeing.

In a joint statement, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, Cllr Mike Wharton, leader Halton Borough Council, Cllr Louise Harbour, deputy leader Knowsley Borough Council, Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Ian Maher, leader Sefton Borough Council, Cllr David Baines, leader St Helens Borough Council and Cllr Janette Williamson, leader Wirral Borough Council said: “The combined authority exists to drive economic regeneration, create jobs and opportunities for local people, and breathe new life into an area that has continually been left behind by national governments.

“Devolution is all about local leaders taking control of our own destiny and working with local people to shape the future we want for our region.

“This project stands as one of the most significant regeneration projects our region has seen in more than a decade and will be a major catalyst for regeneration and revival in an area that has been crying out for investment for decades.

“This is not an investment in a football club, but in an important project that will generate a myriad of social and economic benefits for communities across our region.

“From creating thousands of jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities for local people, attracting hundreds of thousands of new visitors to our region and launching programmes that will help to tackle health and social inequalities, whilst supporting the vulnerable within our communities.

“The financial returns generated from this investment will ensure that we are able to invest in further regeneration projects and services across the city region. Given austerity and the financial constraints that local councils continue to face, this is an innovative way of generating new money and investing to improve our region.”

Everton chief executive, Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale, said: “From the very inception of our new stadium plans – and the 11 key principles that underpin it – we have been focused on not only delivering a world class new home for our club, but also a truly transformative regeneration project for the North of Liverpool and the wider city region.

Prof Denise Barrett-Baxendale

“We have worked closely with the Metro Mayor and local civic leaders throughout the project towards that objective.

“The approval today by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for a grant of up to £15m and a loan of up to £30m to help us facilitate our vision is a testament to the impact our stadium project and the redevelopment of Goodison Park will have for communities across our region.”

She added: “Our new home will be a world class sporting arena. A home fit for Everton Football Club. And it will bring with it economic regeneration, job creation, new visitors to our city and a wealth of opportunities for thousands of local people, breathing new life into the North of Liverpool and acting as a catalyst to accelerate other redevelopment projects in the area.

“The combined authority has demonstrated its appreciation of that vision and the importance of our project in the renaissance of North Liverpool. The authority’s support and investment in helping make that a reality is greatly appreciated.”

After moving to the new stadium, Everton will redevelop Goodison Park as part of a project which, alone, is forecast to create more than £58.2m-worth of social value, driven by increased wellbeing in the area.

Outline planning consent has already been granted and the club is committed to starting work on the Goodison site within three years of moving to Bramley-Moore Dock.

The combined authority was told in a report: “The project provides the opportunity for transformational regeneration of North Liverpool and South Sefton/Bootle areas. It comprises a number of elements: The new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, the Goodison Legacy Project; and wider and accelerated regeneration of the Northern Docks area, alongside expanding the outreach and offering of Everton in the Community’s activities.

“The stadium is anticipated to attract further investment in the Northern Liverpool Docks area in a way no other commercial project is likely to achieve with wider impact spreading into adjacent areas such as South Sefton.”

The grant will help cover the higher cost of developing a challenging and historic dockland site and would fund work of a non-commercial nature.

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