Liverpool FC has put the brakes on its proposed expansion of the Anfield Road stand at Anfield Stadium because of the impact of Covid-19 lockdown delays.
The club said the complex build must be completed between seasons and therefore the impact is at least a 12-month pause.
The earliest target for project completion is now for the summer of 2023, against the original target of summer 2022.
The club began a two-stage consultation with local residents, groups and businesses, and supporters in November last year and aimed to submit its planning application in spring 2020.
Liverpool FC said from the outset that for the expansion to go ahead it would need certainty on three key areas – agreement from the local neighbourhood that they will allow the expansion to proceed; a financial and economic model in place to deliver a long-term sustainable Anfield; and the ability to navigate the complex planning landscape.
The proposed 18-month build schedule for the Anfield Road expansion project is similar to the Main Stand.
It is a complex construction process which is highly dependent on a wide range of time-sensitive variables. These include procurement, construction, sub-contractors, supply chain and the football calendar to ensure minimal impact for supporters by having two summer windows to complete the project.
On reviewing the delays that the Covid-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have for the foreseeable future, coupled with the high levels of uncertainty in the construction industry, the club said it had decided to pause the scheme.
Liverpool FC’s chief operating officer, Andy Hughes, said:
We have experienced a number of delays to the planned project as a direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Given the challenges that many sectors are facing right now, including the construction, procurement and public sectors, we are taking a responsible approach to pause the project for at least 12 months.
The complex build programme for Anfield Road is an 18-month process and needs two clear summer closed season windows in order for it to be successful. This is why we are pausing on the project for at least 12 months so the earliest we could complete the programme is summer 2023 rather than summer 2022 as originally planned. Given the planning application is no longer time-critical, it is our intention to submit our planning application at some stage during the next 12 months.
We will use this period to review and consider options. When the football calendar and the wider delays to the construction and supply chain industries begin to plateau, we will provide further updates.
We understand this is disappointing for many, as it is for us, but would like to thank all our key stakeholders, including local neighbours in Anfield, our supporters, the City Council and others for their great cooperation in the pre-planning stages.
Our priority remains on the health and wellbeing of our people, the local community and supporters at this challenging time. Our thoughts are with all those affected by Covid-19.