Knowsley planners recommend Tesco/Everton proposals

Knowsley council's planning officers today published a report on the £400m Destination Kirkby scheme, recommending councillors to approve it next week.

The council's planning officers have been considering the application for the 50,000-seat stadium and extensive retail since it was submitted by Tesco and Everton FC in January this year.

The planning decision is due to be made by councillors at a specially convened meeting next week.

In recommending the plans for approval the planning officers stated:

  • They "…accept the submissions and arguments that if the Club is to continue to be successful in the top flight of football, remaining at Goodison Park is not a realistic option."
  • They "…see no prospect of real change [to socio-economic depravation] without radical intervention."
  • "…it is accepted there is a significant net additional employment impact associated with the scheme; a good match between employment opportunities arising and the local labour supply / business development opportunities; a substantial net gain in visitor spending in the region; and an appreciable rise in the gross value added to the local economy."
  • "Overall, it is concluded that the development will deliver a number of benefits that will help to address the socio and economic disparities and improve quality of life for the people of Kirkby."

Tesco's corporate affairs manager, Michael Kissman, said: "This recommendation for approval is fantastic news and a clear and strong message that our plans are right for the town and will benefit the long term prosperity of the area.

"Our consultation has been thorough and robust. We have shown that we are prepared to listen, and the clear majority of people we have spoken to support our plans.

"Our plans, which will create over 2,000 new jobs in Kirkby, have moved a significant step closer and we look forward to hearing the final decision from councillors shortly."

In March, Tesco announced changes to the original masterplan including a larger emphasis on developing the existing town centre, a further £10m to be spent on infrastructure and public realm works and a reduction in the amount of retail space to be created in the new development from 775,000 sq ft to 592,000 sq ft.

It has also emerged that Liverpool City Council appears unlikely to object to the planning application when its planning committee meets on Wednesday 4 June.

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