As 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to provide an update on our stadium project and an insight into what the first few months of 2021 may hold as our plans for a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock continue to progress.
Firstly, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout a difficult year. Your backing for this transformational project has really made a difference. We’ve had passionate, insightful and widescale support for the public consultations held by Liverpool City Council – reflecting the overwhelming desire of the people of our city region – and beyond – to see this project happen.
A year of steady progress
A new home at Bramley-Moore Dock, which will sit within Peel Land & Property’s Liverpool Waters site, is a priority for this football club and a key part of our long-term strategy. There is a strong sense of urgency from within the Club to make this development happen as soon as we possibly can. Whilst the impact of a global pandemic has seen many other developments stall, be postponed or mothballed indefinitely, we have continued to make steady progress while our planning application goes through the required process.
Since our last update in August and the submission of our amended planning application in September, we have been working alongside our preferred building contractor, Laing O’Rourke, and engineering consultants, Buro Hapold, to develop this highly complex scheme in readiness for the stadium construction. This has culminated in two listed building consent submissions to Liverpool City Council focusing specifically on the Regent Road Dock Wall and the enabling and remediation work required prior to the commencement of building the stadium.
While on-site we have also been testing various brick samples and building materials. These samples allow us to understand how our building materials will respond to the waterfront environment, how they will look against the aesthetic of the site itself – with the hydraulic tower and external dock wall – and against the surrounding urban environment. By having our chosen brick, glass and steel materials in place it means we can save the time we need when going into the build phase.
We have also been finalising technical matters in relation to ecology and transport – as well as completing our climate modelling. Our climate reporting gives us a clear picture of what the wind, temperature and precipitation levels are like throughout the year on-site. This information backs up our initial modelling and has been helpful in confirming we have the right stadium design and materials.
With a build-programme now in place with our preferred contractor, we have been looking specifically at what matchdays will look like at Bramley-Moore Dock. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the survey we put out to supporters in November. The information you have provided will help us begin to look at how we develop our future matchday offer. By getting new data that isn’t related to Goodison Park it allows us to build a picture of your expectations for attending matches in the future, the various price points and products that might interest you and, in-turn, the kind of fan facilities we could implement at our new stadium.
It is important to state that no final decisions have been made on Season Ticket, Hospitality or Matchday ticket prices. It has always been our intention to ensure our new stadium broadens our matchday offer and allows every Evertonian the opportunity to enjoy a matchday that caters for their needs.
Once all the data and numbers have been reviewed and analysed from this survey, we’ll provide an overview of the headline results in the New Year.
Our work on developing a legacy project at Goodison Park has also continued in line with our programme. Following feedback from consultees on our outline plans we have made some slight amendments to our masterplan layout and ensured the application provides the future flexibility required to ensure we develop the right offering for our local community at the appropriate time. These changes are now with Liverpool City Council and we expect both our stadium and legacy applications to be determined at the same time.
Over the past couple of months we have been preparing for what might be required from us at a planning committee meeting. It is our understanding that Liverpool City Council expect to determine both our Bramley-Moore Dock and Goodison Park applications in the coming weeks, with a special committee meeting due to be scheduled for late January or early February.
This is one of the largest applications Liverpool City Council will have ever received at a time when their resources are stretched to capacity due to a global pandemic. We therefore fully appreciate the local authority needs to carry out the due process required to legally satisfy all the criteria it needs to deliver its verdict.
As well as explaining how a new stadium gives the football club a platform for growth, we clearly demonstrate within our application how we are transforming a site located within one of the city’s key gateways by opening up and sharing its heritage assets for people to interact with and enjoy. We have always been confident about the merits of our application – particularly in the delivery of the public benefits that are evidently needed now more than ever. Our research shows the social and economic benefits of a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, coupled with a legacy project at Goodison Park, are even greater than those outlined in our initial submission a year ago.
Working alongside our consultants CBRE and Simetrica, we estimate The People’s Project could deliver at least a £1.3billion boost to the economy, create more than the initially estimated 15,000 jobs and still attract 1.4million visitors to the city. Estimates show a ripple effect that will be felt across the city region’s economy. Local families who have members of their households working on the development will benefit from £32million of income. Liverpool City Council could see an annual return of £2.1million in Council Tax, while Business Rates income could yield a further £1.7million per year.
The Club’s contribution to Liverpool’s social, cultural and heritage offering is also expected to increase.
Our application also confirms the results from an independent study showing that residents of the Liverpool City Region have indicated their preference for Everton to develop a new stadium on the site as opposed to seeing Bramley-Moore Dock remain in its current state.
We fully expect that our planning application will be determined within the first couple of months of 2021, meaning, with Government approval, we are aiming to be on-site at Bramley-Moore Dock within the first half of the year.
Achieving a positive planning determination is the next key milestone in this project and unlocks the next phase of work streams we need to complete, with a key focus on confirming the land acquisition, finalising our preferred routes and access to funding and formalising our relationship with our preferred contractor Laing O’Rourke.
For many, 2021 will be a period of transition as the world recovers from the impacts of a global pandemic as we see the continued roll-out of a vaccine. While there is no need to adjust our overall project timeline, I am sure you can appreciate that not everything is directly under our control, we remain on track with our own internal plans and the most important thing for us is that we continue to move forward and plan accordingly.
We are confident that 2021 will give us the license to move forward by getting the necessary approvals to deliver a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Everton Football Club and the Liverpool City Region.
Finally, I want to wish you a safe and Merry Christmas, as well as a prosperous New Year for you, your family and the Club we all love.