Everton: Stadium consultation process has been thorough and received widespread backing

Monday, 14 September, 2020 34comments  |  Jump to last

Updated Everton's Director of Marketing, Communications & Community, Richard Kenyon, has highlighted the club's extensive consultation process vis-a-vis the historic nature of the Bramley-Moore Dock site in the wake of objections to the proposed stadium from heritage bodies.

Both English Heritage and the Victorian Society have voiced their concerns over what they deem will be “incontrovertible harm” done to the Grade II listed walls of the dock by Everton's proposed new ground and have asked that the scheme be called in by the Secretary of State.

The club have responded to the initial concerns over the designs that were submitted in December to Liverpool City Council as part of the planning application for Bramley-Moore Dock by making substantial changes to their plans, specifically on the west side of the development.

A proposed multi-storey car park has been withdrawn from the plans in favour of a stepped plaza and a smaller, single-level parking area on the West Quay and these were included in an updated planning application that was submitted to LCC last week.

In addition to the Ten Streets initiative, Everton's plans are part of a revised North Shore Vision, a new “heritage-led” plan for the north docks area that aims to replace that put forward by Peel Holdings and Liverpool Vision and propose redevelopment of the derelict docklands that the council hope will help Liverpool retain its UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Speaking at an online Westminster Business Forum's event looking at the future of infrastructure in the Liverpool City region, Kenyon described the lengths to which Everton have engaged all interested parties in the city as part of an extensive consultation process.

“With any big scheme like this it's crucial that you take your time to set out the position and to give information and detail, and we've been very careful to do that over the last two years,” he said.

"We are looking at redeveloping a site that is part of the city's history but currently derelict. We wanted to put that front and centre of our position and explain why we were going to that site, the benefits of that not just to us, but the whole of the city region and most importantly, what we were doing to not impact heritage - but to enhance it, celebrate it and showcase it - to make it available to people.

"I think by putting all of that out there - very honestly and very much supported by the facts - we let people make their own decisions.

"We went to every length to get across all the boroughs of the city region over an extensive period to capture what those opinions were.

"Some criticism we have had has actually been from our own supporters early on in the process to ask us 'why is this taking so long', 'why are you consulting so extensively', 'why are you continuing to go out and ask us and the community things - just get on with the stadium'.

"While we wanted to do that, we knew that it was absolutely critical to the success of the project that we got the information out clearly so people could make an informed decision.

"We've been absolutely blown away by the level of support we've had, not just in that consultation but by people right across the spectrum."

Providing there are no significant delays caused by Governmental review of the scheme in Westminster, Everton hope to get the green light from the Council for Bramley-Moore Dock towards the end of this year and for construction to begin in early 2021.

Meanwhile, the director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which was set up to drive economic growth in the North of England, has weighed in, arguing that Liverpool's World Heritage status has “served its purpose” and that it would be unwise to delay the stadium project.

Henri Murison said: “Unnecessarily delaying a £1bn mega-project such as this would be a huge mistake. Historic England's reading of the requirements of the World Heritage Status, which has already served its purpose in establishing [Liverpool's] visitor brand, shows that the time may have come when the disadvantages [of the status] for the city outweigh any residual benefits it brings.”

“In reality, the power of such a scheme can prove transformative in unlocking the true economic potential of Liverpool and the North in both the short- and long-term.

“Projects like this represent a critical example of the role that forward-thinking organisations such as Everton and their wider partners can play in investing in local communities and ‘building back better' — closing the North/South divide one step at a time.”  

Reader Comments (34)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:02:16
Can't we just tell English Heritage and the other anoraks to get stuffed and just move on with our plans? Do they have the final say or what?
Dan Nulty
2 Posted 14/09/2020 at 08:49:06
I understand that they want to protect as much originality as possible but how, as the area stands, are they going to attract visitors and tell people of the history?

Surely, English Heritage have a responsibility to promote our country's history? So shortsighted complaining about this when the reality is that virtually no one outside of Liverpool (including many people from with Liverpool) will know anything about Bramley Moore Dock.

People from all over the country (and hopefully Europe!) will suddenly be aware of the place and exposed to the site's history when they come to visit. That can only be a good thing?

Geoff Cadman
3 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:41:20
Fully agree, Dan. Since this started, many people will have read up on the history of the dock. If or when the stadium opens, it will offer perfect views of Nelson Dock, built at the same time.

Why not have access points inside the Stadium where the walls can be viewed – like the "Old Dock" at Liverpool One?

Tony Everan
4 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:42:59
Good, fair and measured comments from Richard Kenyon.

The project is certainly heritage led. It will transform a derelict area and enhance it for the whole community to enjoy that heritage.

It will create jobs and boost the local economy, long-term. In these uncertain times, that is music to the government's ears.

The government will weigh up the incredible amount of positives against the few, hardly credible, negatives. They may ask for some final tweaks and guarantees but this project is an undeniable force for good on many fronts and will be going ahead.

Pablo Brown
5 Posted 14/09/2020 at 09:49:47
I'm all for preserving our history, it cheeses me off no end when stunning pieces of architecture get knocked down for flats, but this place is an eyesore in a deprived area, it's disgusting that English Heritage thinks a run-down dock is more important than thousands of jobs.

What makes me laugh about English Heritage is a lot of the time they only get involved when someone commits to saving a building. A structure may be on its last legs, one storm and it will be gone, yet when someone decides to pump hundreds of thousands into preserving the building, they then become interested and their demands become ridiculous.

Anthony Murphy
6 Posted 14/09/2020 at 12:50:17
I hope we refuse to make any more amendments to the design just to appease these jokers. Where do we draw a line? BMD sits in one of the UK’s most deprived wards - are the Heritage mob seriously advocating preserving a derelict dock is of greater significance than the livelihoods, happiness and social mobility of thousands of local residents?
Keith Gleave
7 Posted 14/09/2020 at 13:15:06
I certainly believe in keeping our heritage however, what is the heritage providing us with presently. The answer is plainly nothing, as large areas of the north docks are derelict or have bog standard warehouses on them.
The answer to the heritage question is to have designs and buildings that share an eye to the past but also look to the future. So sympathetic design with stand out features.
This development will not only bring a football stadium, it will bring multi million pound investment to an area that sorely needs that investment to re-energise the area. In the end heritage and the past cannot be the sole reason not to move forward and provide jobs and infrastructure, neither should they be done to the total detriment of our heritage. I think this gives hues to the heritage and provides restoration to a good deal of what is currently in situ.

Harry Wallace
8 Posted 14/09/2020 at 14:49:27
Any experts on here so can predict what will happen? To an outsider it is worrying and is a such an “Everton” thing to happen
Paul Richardson
9 Posted 14/09/2020 at 15:59:57
Being "called in" is a desperate measure. The decision rests with the city council. If they decide to "pass" and have it called in, ie the Government decides, then you cannot see (apart from the delay) any issues. Does the covid-confused Government want to build? Yes. Will this create jobs and opportunity in a Labour constiuency? Yes. Will this pull more investment into the area? Yes. So why say no? The potential delay is the issue...will the owner have the patience? After the performance at result on Sunday, surely it's another Yes?
John Keating
10 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:01:36
Have these half-wits at English and Victorian heritage actually been down there?

Protect our history by all means but that area is a tip.

Bill Watson
11 Posted 14/09/2020 at 17:16:56
Harry #8

This is an extract from a 2009 government directive. It would appear that, unless English Heritage withdraw their objection, the planning authority must refer the planning application to the Secretary of State.

7. The direction introduces a new requirement for local planning authorities to refer applications where they are minded to grant planning permission in circumstances where English Heritage has objected on the grounds that a proposed development could have an adverse impact on the outstanding universal value, integrity, authenticity and significance of a World Heritage Site or its setting, including any buffer zone or its equivalent, and has not withdrawn that objection.

John Raftery
12 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:33:21
Bill (11) We can only hope the design changes in the revised submission are sufficient to persuade The Victorian Society and Historic England to withdraw their objections. Otherwise, there could be a lengthy delay especially as ministers and civil servants currently have many other issues to deal in their in-trays.
John Raftery
13 Posted 14/09/2020 at 18:44:21
It should be acknowledged that the club's management of this whole project has been flawless. Despite some complaints about the time it has taken, most fans have accepted there could be no short cuts in the planning approvals process. Plainly lessons have been learned from the previous efforts which fell apart owing to too many false assumptions.
Tony Everan
14 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:08:02
I don't think English Heritage will withdraw it. There is opposition at the very top of that organisation that is swaying the arguments.

What is eating away me is the feeling that it is more than just the issues they have raised. They seem so insignificant compatible the massive social and economic gains, along with triggering massive investment protecting the heritage of the dockland. The area is desperate for this investment, without it the dereliction and decay will eventually destroy what's there.

In short, English Heritage are playing fast and loose with English heritage. Their decision is illogical and irrational when the big picture is taken into account. This leads me to believe there is a malevolence in this obstruction that is damaging to all concerned.

Paul Hughes
15 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:20:27
It's ludicrous and hypocritical by English Heritage. The docks have been semi-derelict for a generation. Where have these pedants been for all that time?

As has been stated above, this will highlight the historical magnificence of the northern docks, which has been hidden and left to ruin by these so-called guardians.

It is to be hoped that the diligence that the club and the architects have shown in presenting the plans will persuade the City planning authorities to ignore the knee-jerk objections.

This sort of development is exactly what central government's 'build, build, build' exhortations are supposed to be about.

Jamie Abbott
16 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:48:25
A dock is a hole in the ground next to a river. A hole is nothing! If you want to see water, look over the railings, there is plenty.

I don't live in the city, I live in the countryside and English Heritage should be dragged through a very thick hedge backwards for the amount of damage that they have let happen to thousands of listed buildings across this country.

They need a good dose of reality shoving up them to realise what is best for them and their credentials and what is best for a community and what it stands for and supports. Let's get it built. Come on you blue boys!

Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 14/09/2020 at 19:57:02
Heritage is everything, but World heritage status, seems to have held our city back for years, when you consider the scope on both sides of a very unique waterfront.
Patrick McFarlane
18 Posted 14/09/2020 at 20:06:57
Tony #17
It would be very interesting to see how many if any objections that English Heritage has raised in Manchester / Salford in the last couple of decades. Surely the history of Manchester as the heartland of the Industrial Revolution must have had loads of objections raised whenever the city welcomed developers to modernise the city?
Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 14/09/2020 at 20:35:41
I honestly wouldn't know Patrick, but they haven't got our waterfront, and they've never had World Heritage status, but it's a major city nowadays Manchester, and it also seems to get bigger every time I go.

Nothing has held back Manchester, it's just grew and grew, but it will never have a waterfront like Liverpool, a waterfront with that much scope that it could catapult our city into one of Europe's finest if we could just take away the decay!

Bobby Mallon
20 Posted 14/09/2020 at 20:42:14
Who asks for and who gives World Heritage status?
Mick Davies
21 Posted 14/09/2020 at 22:19:27
This development will improve the local environment, and bring much needed employment and hopefully pride in the area - the alternative could be more deprivation, poverty, and possibly damage to property. I mean, where were these heritage heroes when the Rialto burned down? That concrete monstrosity of a museum has caused more to lower the tone of the Riverside view than a new ground, well away from the 3 graces could ever do
Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 15/09/2020 at 10:19:48
Reading Tony’s post (14) made me wonder who sits on this World Heritage Board, who are they? Actual names, do they get paid for what they do and who pays them?
Brian Harrison
23 Posted 15/09/2020 at 10:44:35
Dave 22

According to tinternet the members are Professor James Garden who is director of Edinburgh surgery online. Paul Jardine director Jura consultants and another from Edinburgh. Jeremy Chittleburgh senior partner of Cheine & Tait also a member of the Edinburgh chamber of commerce. What the significance of Edinburgh I have no idea. the others listed are Andrew Henderson, Mark Hopton, Julia Rimmer, Neil Rennick and Megan Verones. I didnt bother to check what they do for a living. But not that it enlightens us Dave but to answer your question some of these make up the World Heritage group.

Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 15/09/2020 at 11:15:41
Brian (23), thanks for your efforts in finding out who make these decisions, Edinburgh seems to make up a big part of this committee and the decision to knock the scheme back, Ah well hopefully we will get the nod to start building in 2021, doesn’t seem any sensible reason not to.Thanks again Brian.
Billy Roberts
25 Posted 15/09/2020 at 19:13:15
I mentioned this on the other stadium thread?
Why aren't they objecting to the demolition of Goodison and its hundred plus years of Heritage? Its significance as the first purpose built football stadium and its significance in the history of Liverpool life.
Do they only object to things being built and not pulled down?
Let me say I'm not opposing the plans for the Goodison area but shouldn't these two organisations be, pure contradiction and hypocrisy is what it is and as I have said before clear obstruction.
Their objection is so pathetic it makes you question their real motives.
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 15/09/2020 at 19:31:59
Brian, Dave I bet you none of those idiots have ever visited Liverpool and don’t have a clue what a derelict shithole BMD, and the surrounding area, is.

It’s all well and good sitting in their town houses on the Royal Mile pontificating about saving a few bricks and a septic tank but what about the lives of the people which could be vastly improved by this investment?

If thatcher couldn’t kill us, these wankers certainly won’t!

Bill Watson
27 Posted 15/09/2020 at 20:38:10

In The Guardian, this morning. The story is also covered in the Daily Mail.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership is strongly behind the project and sees it as a regeneration catalyst for not just Liverpool and Merseyside but the wider north.

Bill Watson
28 Posted 15/09/2020 at 20:52:50

A direct link to the NPP and their view on the consequences of any delay to the stadium development.

Will Mabon
29 Posted 15/09/2020 at 21:49:39

if you click the "Nicest prison I've seen" comment, the following comment can be seen above it:

"This looks like a great scheme and it’s a site that has been crying out for a decent proposal for years. I hope the NIMBYs don’t prevail with this one. The alternative would be an ‘off-the-conveyor-belt’ housing scheme (I should know, I’ve drawn up such a scheme for a developer on this site in the past!)".

It's not beyond possibility that there are such potential schemes held in abeyance for ten or twenty years hence, which we certainly would not get to hear about.

I discovered personally many years ago how much longer term planning goes on in the background, mostly in the area of large scale housing development. Hopefully, this isn't a factor here.

Paul Birmingham
30 Posted 15/09/2020 at 22:04:33
Surely, the degree and level of planned stratedgy EFC, has made and communicated about BMD, to the Public and the government, and the economic benefits of this regeneration plan, mean something, to the UK government?

Common sense and looking to the future and not the past, must prevail in this case.

Transformation of this area of the City, is key to the future economic growth, of the City and the region.

It’s a no brainier and EFC, have done every thing by the book and followed protocol.

These people in WH are blinkered, naive and very ignorant, to the reality and positive impact of BMD.

Eric Myles
31 Posted 16/09/2020 at 15:17:44
Billy #125, because it's not a listed building. Although it should be. I tried to get it listed with English Heritage and World Heritage and they both told me that only the owners can do that. Begs the question WHY HAVEN'T THEY? I think it would be the perfect museum to hold the Dr. France collection, a historic monument to football. But it seems someone just wants to make money from the site.

Tony #14, I doubt there is any malevolence in it (unless they are all RS supporters up there in Edinburgh). It's more likely a box ticking CYA exercise, they have to be seen to be actively protecting a historic monument, even despite the fact that nobody can see it, knows it exists, or gives a shit either way.

Mike Keating
32 Posted 16/09/2020 at 15:27:59
Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) are now pitching in;
If the bid does get referred to the Secretary of State, I would think that, for a Tory government, this quango has more clout.
Nick Page
33 Posted 16/09/2020 at 15:33:25
Kopites will do anything to stop this.
Billy Roberts
34 Posted 17/09/2020 at 04:47:11
Eric @31,

Thank you for your answer. You have to admit though it would be a big museum!!

You are probably right in saying it's a box-ticking exercise but its exactly this which infuriates me, the objection has no credibility and appears to be a massive ego trip for these groups, just to have their names being mentioned in a project of this scale as opposed to an old library or something.

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