The North West Development Agency has approved a £9.2m funding package towards the regeneration element of Liverpool Football Club's proposed New Anfield stadium at Stanley Park.
The package of physical improvements, which will be delivered by Liverpool City Council, comprises the restoration of the currently derelict Gladstone Conservatory in the park. This will be brought back into use, the NWDA said, as a "multi-purpose social enterprise facility" with exhibition space, café, and meeting and conference facilities.
The scheme will provide improved green space in Stanley Park and better connect the Park to the Gladstone Conservatory as well as the new Anfield Plaza, to be created on the site of the current ground.
The club's original planning application was approved in 2004 but a revised application for a 60,000-seater, £300m stadium was submitted in July following a redesign urged by the new American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks. The pair wanted to allow for possible further seating expansion in the future.
Steven Broomhead, NWDA chief executive, said: "This project is a major step forward for the people of Anfield and Breckfield, where there is an urgent need for regeneration. The scheme will be a catalyst for the comprehensive transformation of North Liverpool, and will be closely integrated with partner investments taking place in the area, including new education and health facilities.
"The restoration of Gladstone Conservatory will be important in providing a facility to encourage visitors to the Anfield and Breckfield area outside of match days and we fully expect the economic, social and regeneration benefits from this to be substantial for the local community."
The NWDA also made it clear the agency's funding will not be invested in the stadium costs, which will be met in their entirety by the football club.
The statement accompanying the award announcement said: "The applicant for the funding is Liverpool City Council and the money is to be invested in Stanley Park, The Gladstone Conservatory and related public realm works.
"The funding package for the new stadium is not currently in place. In the event that a new stadium is not constructed at Stanley Park, public monies provided by the NWDA will be reclaimed."