Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine has backed Everton FC’s proposed move to Bramley-Moore Dock as a “golden opportunity to bring lasting change to the north of the city”.
The football club is on track to submit a planning application later this year for a state-of-the-art stadium on Bramley-Moore Dock, a largely abandoned piece of dockland in the north of Liverpool which forms part of Peel Land & Property’s Liverpool Waters site.
Along with its waterside ambitions, the club plans to redevelop its existing Goodison Park home to create community assets after the relocation.
Heseltine, a long-time champion of Liverpool regeneration, said: “The involvement of a major football club like Everton as the spearhead of this development is hugely beneficial to the renewal process. This is not just for the immediate environments around the stadium facility but is of regional importance to Liverpool because of the wider economic impact.
“There’s no question that taking declining areas, or even semi-derelict areas like Liverpool’s north docks, and giving them a new lease of life, meets every test of regeneration. First of all, it reverses the decline; secondly, it uses brownfield sites as opposed to green sites; and it tends to create jobs and investment where people actually are – as opposed to people having to travel long distances. It can simply change the whole atmosphere of a place.
“All that investment combines to create an atmosphere in which other businesses want to be involved and other growth projects emerge. Everton’s plans would change the whole tone and attitude towards the local area, so would serve many purposes beyond the primary sporting purpose.
“It should be remembered that this area of north Liverpool has been in decline for many, many decades so it strikes me that this is an opportunity which the city of Liverpool cannot afford to miss.”
This week, Everton’s chief executive Prof. Denise Barrett-Baxendale and stadium development director Colin Chong will be at MIPIM, intending to use the event to highlight the benefits of its proposals to an international audience ahead of revealing its latest design proposals ahead of phase two of the “People’s Project” public consultation in the summer.
Barrett-Baxendale, said: “Naturally it is pleasing to receive support from key national figures. To get such an endorsement from somebody who not only understands regeneration but has a deep understanding of urban regeneration in the context of our home city is all the more noteworthy and welcome.
“Lord Heseltine is a great supporter and advocate for the city and we are very pleased that he shares our vision and recognises the broad regenerative impact our proposals will have.”
Barrett-Baxendale will be discussing the club’s proposals at an event on the Liverpool City Region stand at 3pm tomorrow, where she will be interviewed by Place editor Jessica Middleton-Pugh.