Source: User Rept0n1x on Wikimedia Commons
Source: User Rept0n1x on Wikimedia Commons

Everton FC stadium hopes at Walton Hall ‘a step too far’

The football club’s long-running search for a new stadium site continues, after a joint statement with Liverpool City Council announced that plans for a £300m scheme at Walton Hall Park have been abandoned.

The council and Everton FC said that they have been “working together over recent months to investigate alternative plans for a new stadium for Everton Football Club. These new plans no longer focus on Walton Hall Park but on two other potential sites brownfield sites within the city boundary.”

The £300m scheme at Walton Hall Park would have included 1,000 homes built by Liverpool Mutual Homes, and 300,000 sq ft of mixed-use retail and leisure space alongside the stadium. The park is close to the club’s current ground, Goodison Park.

The statement said: “The proposed scheme at Walton Hall Park was always an ambitious one. It was a regeneration scheme that relied heavily on retail investment into the site. Most of the current investment into retail is focused on city centres and larger district centres and not on out-of-town developments like this would have been.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson continued: “Most people will be aware that I did give a commitment to Everton to support a potential scheme at Walton Hall Park with the aim of regenerating the area and creating new jobs. However, through the work that the Club and the council have done, we have concluded that effectively building a new village in North Liverpool with lots of retail space is a step too far in this current economic climate.

“On the subject of the park itself, I can now say that the park will remain a park and will be designated as such in our Local Plan which will be out for consultation this summer.”

Everton FC’s hunt for an appropriate site for new grounds has already stretched over two decades. Plans for a 60,000 seater stadium at Gillmoss were mooted in 1996, followed by a proposed project at Kings Dock, and then latterly in Kirkby funded by Tesco, which was blocked by a public inquiry in 2009.

The proposals at Walton Hall Park were first announced in 2014.

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