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Everton stadium development plans amended

Everton FC have released images of amendments to the design of their planned new state-of-the-art £500 million stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool.

The changes were made after consultation carried out by Liverpool City Council’s planning department.

Once Everton officially submitted its planning application to the city’s planning department at the start of the year, officers were obliged to consult with the public, neighbouring authorities and a host of other key stakeholders – including heritage groups and emergency services.

The updated designs will be formally submitted to the council in early September.

Although the updated plans will not require the submission of a full new planning application, they will require a formal public consultation on the revised elements.

This consultation, led by the Council, is anticipated to last 28 days and will be an opportunity for everyone to comment on these additional features.

Colin Chong, Stadium Development Director, outlined the design improvements that had been made in a letter to supporters.

The most visual of the design improvements is around the West Stand (the stand facing the River Mersey).

A new river-facing stepped plaza has been added and the multi-storey car park removed, which helps with the symmetry of the stadium and brings back river views for supporters in the West Stand and from the top of the stepped plaza.

As well as enhancing symmetry and general aesthetics, this new stepped plaza creates a covered fan area which protects supporters and the turnstile and lounge entrances from any inclement weather.

The solar panels originally proposed on the West Quay will now be relocated to the stadium roof, freeing up and decluttering the quay for non-matchday use and allowing for extra matchday parking.

This also improves the efficiency of this renewable energy source and provides the opportunity to increase the number of solar panels in future, if required. Chong said:

We have simplified the brick façade and made the tribute to the Archibald Leitch lattice work more obvious on the external brickwork of the stadium.

We have also covered some of the most exposed areas within the stands to better protect supporters from the elements.

Finally, in line with the Council’s World Heritage Site guidance, we have slightly reduced the overall height of the stadium – without affecting capacity in any way.

Chongs said the past few months have been an important period for Everton. He said:

We have been responding to planning queries and have established our technical and delivery team in anticipation of planning approval.

Following a detailed and comprehensive tender process, we appointed Laing O’Rourke as our preferred building contractor. Through their own transparent tender process, they appointed Pattern as the project’s technical architect, working and engaging directly with Laing O’Rourke.

Pattern replaced original stadium architect Dan Meis on the project.

Buro Happold and Planit-IE have been retained as engineering consultants and landscape architects respectively. Chong said:

It is crucial to have these organisations in place now to ensure maximum efficiency and that all elements of the project are joined up at every stage. We have every confidence in the project team assembled.

Representatives from across this project team have recently been on-site carrying out several further surveys on the land and existing structures as we gather the data we need ahead of a determination by the planning authorities.

Objections to the proposed scheme have been made to Liverpool City Council by Historic England and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a heritage body acting on behalf of UNESCO.

Historic England, together with ICOMOS, believe the proposals should be reviewed by the Government due to their concerns over the impact plans to infill the dock could have on what is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Conservation Area. Similar concerns have also been raised by the Victorian Society.

Chong added:

While we understand the position of these organisations, we also know that local politicians, the more than 60,000 people who took part in our public consultations, our business community and third sector stakeholders all have a different view and fully support our proposals. The local public has told us – in huge numbers – that they believe the public benefits of our plans far outweigh the suggested level of harm to the heritage assets.

While we completely respect the organisations making these objections and the reasons they are making them, we strongly believe this development represents a vital economic and social catalyst for the north of the City at a time when it has never been more needed, while, at the same time, celebrating and showcasing the heritage of the site and the surrounding area.

Indeed, our stadium project is a centrepiece in the city’s new North Shore Vision to further extend Liverpool’s world-class waterfront. This will be an example of how sensitive heritage-led regeneration can bring about transformational change and provide a much-needed boost to the economy.