English Premier League soccer side Everton FC’s new 52,888 capacity stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock was approved today for planning by Liverpool City Council.
After years of discussions and design changes, the new home of the Toffees has been given the go-ahead after the council approved new solutions overcoming the site’s potential transportation issues.
A key consideration of both Everton FC as well as the planning authorities was how to ensure the safe and efficient travel of fans to the new stadium. Goodison Park has been home to Everton FC for over 125 years. The new stadium’s proposed site at Liverpool’s North Docks 3km away, not only represents a significant change in supporters’ travel routines but also a transportation challenge given the underdeveloped nature of the area.
Everton CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale told supporters:
“I am pleased to inform you that the Committee unanimously supported the recommendation of the Planning Officer and has now approved our plans for a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and outline plans for a legacy project on the site of Goodison Park.
“The planning consent from the City Council means that our application will now be referred to Government – a standard procedure for an application of such scale. The Government will have an initial 21 days to review the plans and make its decision.
“Once that process has concluded – and provided it is a positive outcome – we can press ahead with the plans we have developed over the last few years.
“I am sure you are aware of how important a new stadium will be for us – providing the state-of-the-art facilities befitting of an ambitious Premier League club – as well as the important role it can play in boosting our local economy at a time when it’s never been more needed.
The project, which will be one the most significant infrastructure projects our city has seen in many years and one of the largest single site developments in the country at this time.”
Engineering consultancy firm Mott MacDonald and its Liverpool-based transport planning team have been advising the Club on this major project for the past four years.
To overcome this challenge, the transportation strategy put forward by Mott MacDonald included: match day road closures around the stadium to encourage sustainable travel choices as well as to ensure the safety of fans walking to the stadium, the construction of a fan waiting area at the nearest train station, and the provision of shuttle buses to and from Liverpool city centre and Bootle. Parking restrictions will also be in operation as part of the strategy to discourage the use of car travel on match days and reduce impact on residents, businesses, and improve general pedestrian safety.
Mott MacDonald worked closely with the City Regions transport stakeholders: Liverpool City Council, Merseytravel, the police, public transport operators and neighboring businesses to develop a sustainable match day transport strategy to support the planning application. Collaboration with these stakeholders was key to delivering the transport strategy.
The match day road closures around the stadium combined with the fact that Bramley-Moore Dock is a thirty-minute walk from Liverpool city center, meant there were concerns that access for some disabled fans would be difficult. As a result of Mott MacDonald’s consultation with representatives from disabled supporters’ communities, an inclusive access strategy was developed that will see a free shuttle bus service deployed for disabled fans.
Kevin Blakey, principal transport planner at Mott MacDonald, said:
“It has been an honor to work with Everton FC on such an important project for the city of Liverpool and I’m personally delighted with the council’s decision to grant planning.”
“At Mott MacDonald, we work hard to improve tangible social outcomes in all we do. In this instance, it was important for us not only to ensure a genuine choice of sustainable travel options, but also to work with supporter groups to make sure that the stadium was accessible and inclusive.”
Everton FC estimates that the stadium project could deliver at least a £1.3bn boost to the economy, create more than 15,000 jobs and attract 1.4m visitors to Liverpool. Mott MacDonald worked closely alongside stadium architects Pattern Design, landscape designers Planit-IE and planning consultant CBRE.