Everton to find out fate of Bramley Moore Dock stadium plans next week

Liverpool city council will decide next Tuesday whether to grant Everton planning permission for a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock, with the ambitious scheme recommended for approval in its planning report.

Everton have spent almost £20m on preparation works for the proposed 52,888-capacity stadium, the club’s last set of accounts revealed, and hope to start construction on the £500m-plus development in spring or summer depending on the success of its planning application.

The application has received objections from Historic England, the Victorian Society and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a heritage body acting on behalf of Unesco, who oppose filling in a dock situated in a world heritage site. Everton would preserve the dock walls under the stadium, however, and they can be re-engineered into a dock should the club ever leave.

Several heritage features at the inaccessible site would also be restored by Everton, including a Grade II listed hydraulic tower and tramlines. Liverpool’s Three Graces, the Liverpool One shopping complex and the M&S Bank Arena were all built on infilled docks.

In his report to the council’s planning committee, case officer Peter Jones concluded that: “substantial public benefits far outweigh any heritage harm.” It adds that the stadium has: “the potential to deliver heritage benefits both on site and to the public in terms of enhancing degraded on-site heritage assets, improving access to the world heritage site and unlocking access to the history and an improved interpretation of the world heritage site in the Northern Docks.”

Liverpool city council has convened a special planning committee hearing next Tuesday to determine both Everton’s stadium proposal and intended legacy project at Goodison Park. A condition of the report is that Everton begin the redevelopment of Goodison within three years of moving into Bramley Moore Dock.

If approved, the stadium application will be referred to the secretary of state for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick. That is an automatic procedure for a development of this scale. He will have 21 days to review the application and, should final approval be given, Everton will be able to secure funding and start the estimated 150-week construction.

The council report praised the design of Everton’s stadium, its sustainability objectives, transport plans and accessibility for disabled supporters. The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, who described heritage objections as “a huge mistake”, has estimated the development will be worth over £1bn to the local economy, create over 15,000 jobs and show the government is serious about bridging the north-south divide.