14 November 2018

As you’ll be aware, we are gauging views through a wide-ranging public consultation for the two developments being proposed under the People’s Project: a community-led redevelopment of Goodison Park and a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

But what is this consultation for and what role does it play in planning terms? We speak to Iain Jenkinson, national head of planning from CBRE to find out.

Major planning applications such as the one we will be submitting for Bramley-Moore Dock, and the Goodison Legacy project, consist of dozens of different reports each dealing with specific areas of the project in fine detail. As well as the actual design of the stadium, the materials it is constructed with, and its capacity, we have to explain how people will travel to and from the ground, what the effect on local amenity will be and even where the shadows will fall once the stadium is built.

Then there’s our heritage report, archaeology, ecology, the transport plan and more. There’s also a whole range of information relating to the utilities infrastructure and safety management. In addition, we submit a statement of community involvement which details the consultation we have undertaken, what we learned from that process and how we responded.

Unplug any one of these elements and the planning application is incomplete which can lead to delays in the decision-making timeline.

The fan engagement which has taken place so far, is different from public consultation as it is based on a self-selecting group rather than being fully open and totally inclusive of all interests across the city and the city-region

The overall framework of planning law is set by central government and they provide useful guidance on the value of pre-application engagement. They describe consultation as providing ‘…significant potential to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application system and improve the quality of planning applications and their likelihood of success.’

At the heart of that statement is the essence of good development and meaningful public and stakeholder consultation: when applicants listen, the planning process is shorter, the plans are improved and they are more likely to succeed.

The gold-standard for consultation is to run a two-stage process where views are first sought on the broad principles followed by further comments at a later stage on the detailed designs.

We’ll submit our detailed planning application for Bramley-Moore Dock and the outline application for Goodison Park at the same time in the second half of 2019. Once submitted and registered, they are made available to the public by the local planning authority. At this point, you can, if you are committed enough, read every single word of them.

Of course the club has other motivations from organising the consultation in the manner being presented. You may be aware that Everton Football Club prides itself on being an active member of its community. If and when that community changes to include parts of L3 along with L4, it has, as a matter of principle, to match its words with its deeds. Those deeds start now by giving people a say on the plans.

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