The football club is to undertake a £60m redevelopment of the Anfield Road stand, increasing its capacity to 61,000 from 54,000 now.
Liverpool Football Club secured a 6-2 victory in favour of its proposal, at the city council’s planning committee this morning.
The plans are part of a twin application that will also grant LFC a five-year permission to host up to six non-football events a year.
KSS is the scheme’s architect, with Turley advising on planning. Sam Ryan, who has worked with LFC for more than 20 years on planning matters for its various expansion projects, addressed the committee’s various concerns at length.
The intention of LFC’s US owner Fenway Sports Group is that the project will be completed within two close season periods, with the existing stand remaining in use while the new stand is constructed behind.
Much of the debate in a session that went on for more than 90 minutes centred not around the stand itself, or even the events programme, but public space both in the LFC ownership and in Stanley Park.
Cllr Anna Key, a Green Party councillor, voted against, voicing her displeasure at the plan to remove trees as pat of a project that will see Anfield Road itself reconfigured and move into the club’s ownership.
Cllr Dave Cummings, the other dissenting voice at voting time, said that he “will not support this planning application if you do not engage,” asking for a further round of consultation with fuller information on the tree strategy. The councillor claimed that “smoke and mirrors and ambiguity” had affected the process so far.
LCC case officer Felicity Collins explained that the 16 trees to be removed within the club’s boundaries would be replaced by 25 trees, the usual threshold of two-for-one replacement not being required due to the quality of the repalcements being semi-mature trees “offering immediate amenity” and better prospects for long-term survival.
It was pointed out in addition that the enhanced listing of Stanley Park has come only in recent years following a public-private regeneration programme, with further enhancements made following the Liverpool’s main stand expansion project.
Historic England back the plans, while the wider project all falls within the requirements of the Anfield area supplementary planning document.
Ryan, now director of Ryan & May, but who still works with her long-time employer Turley on major sports projects, added that one of the council’s long-term wishes has been for improved permeability between Walton Breck Road on the far side of Anfield through to Stanley Park, and that the proposed improved access points to the park, following the already-introduced 96 Avenue, will meet that goal.
The professional team also includes Mott MacDonald, Planit-IE, SKM and Jacobs.