3007: Liverpool stadium approved
2907: New stadium set for green light
2307: D-Day for LFC stadium plans
1607: Parry rejects ground rumour
1207: No public monet for stadium
0807: Everton seek Reds talks
2106: Reds want to change Park
0506: Thousands oppose new stadium
0206: Reds advised to change stadium site
0705: New talks on Red stadium
1504: Delay threat to new stadium
2603: Now club answer critics
0601: Reds will scrap new stadium plan if...



Liverpool stadium approved

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool have been granted planning permission to build a new 60,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park to replace their current Anfield ground.

The new 80m stadium will be built just 300 yards from the current ground.

Liverpool council announced the approval on Friday after an 0800 BST inspection of the new site.

However, the plans will be referred to deputy prime minister John Prescott for his approval due to the size of the plan and the opposition to it.

It is almost certain Prescott will call for a public enquiry but if he does not and chooses to pass the decision back to Liverpool Council, the final approval will then have to be given by planning committee boss Councillor Lady Doreen Jones.

Liverpool have been working on the plan for five years and have encountered strong opposition to their attempts to build on the historic park.

There have also been calls for the stadium to be shared by Liverpool with neighbours Everton, but the Anfield club are against such a move.

The approval will come as a great relief to Liverpool, who currently have a 45,000 capacity at Anfield.

The club say they must expand and improve their stadium to be able to continue to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, who are building a new home of their own to replace Highbury.

A number of buildings in the Anfield Road area will be demolished and the old stadium site will be turned into a plaza, shops, restaurants, flats, offices and a hotel.

The Hillsborough memorial will also be relocated to the new plaza.

Opposition to the plan continues to come from a variety of sources, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Anfield Regeneration action committee and many local residents.

They are concerned that the new stadium means 15,000 extra fans will be in the area on match days.

New stadium set for green light

By Mike Hornby - Liverpool Echo

Plans for Liverpool FC's new stadium at Stanley Park will be discussed by councillors tomorrow.

The city's planning committee is expected to give the 80m development the green light although the final decision will be made by the government.

The 150- page planning application shows how Stanley Park will be affected by construction of the 60,000-seat ground, and how the current stadium site will be transformed into a public plaza surrounded by apartments, offices, bars and restaurants, and a hotel.

The Hillsborough memorial is likely to be located somewhere in the park at Anfield Plaza, but city plan-ners are allowing the club and families to come to their own agreement on that.

Various items of public art will decorate the park - including a possible "walk-way of champions" with the club's legendary figures.

Anfield councillor Jeremy Chowings supports the move, but says the club must prove it can be a good neighbour.

He said: "This debate has split the Anfield community, but there's no doubt we all want the same things, more jobs and a better local environment.

"The concern is whether the new stadium is the key to that regeneration."

He added: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the regeneration of north Liverpool."

Opponents of the move argue the councillors will be breaking their own rules if they allow construction to take place in Stanley Park, which opened more than 100 years ago.

Joe Kenny, chairman of Anfield Regeneration Action Committee, said: "This is the first park of its kind in the country where the local authority is prepared to give away a public space to a private company.

"It sets a precedent." Meanwhile the club, Anfield's biggest employer, says the current 45,000-capacity ground has inadequate facilities and is too small to host major games.

Councillors will visit the site of the proposed stadium at 8am tomorrow before heading for the town hall two hours later where they will make a decision.

D-Day for LFC stadium plans

By Larry Neild - Daily Post Staff

Liverpool FC's plans for a new 60,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park should be given the go-ahead, city planning chiefs recommended last night.

They are calling for the 80m project to be approved at a special meeting of Liverpool council's planning committee next week.

But planning manager Nigel Lee and his team say permission should only be given if the club complies with a string of conditions.

Because of the size of the development it will have to be referred to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

If Mr Prescott decides not to intervene, the final decision will rest with the planning committee, chaired by Cllr Lady Doreen Jones.

The planning application also paves the way for the development of a plaza which will include a hotel, offices, retail and food and drink areas, as well as community facilities and residential developments centred on a public open space.

A number of buildings - from 47 to 71 Anfield Road - will be demolished to pave the way for the new Anfield stadium.

The club also wants to dismantle and rebuild the historic 'Monkey House' bandstand in the park and re-erect it on a new site opposite Everton FC's ground in Walton Lane.

A bowling green pavilion will also be moved to a new site.

The committee members will start their deliberations at Liverpool Football Club at 8am next Friday, visiting the site of the proposed stadium before heading for the town hall two hours later where they will make a decision.

Although there can be no indication in advance of how the planning committee members will react to the application, it is unusual for politicians to go against the recommendation of council officials. There is a strong likelihood of the application being given the go-ahead.

The committee may face protesters on their visit to the site but a decision has been taken not to hear any representations during the Anfield visit.

But opponents will have the chance to air their views when the committee convenes in the town hall for what is likely to be a lengthy session.

Parry rejects ground rumour

BBC Sport Online

Liverpool's chief executive Rick Parry has denied claims by local politicians that they may consider sharing their planned new ground with Everton.

City council leader Mike Storey had claimed that the teams were "warming" to the idea, but Parry insists Liverpool's position has not changed.

"We're conscious the majority of our fans are strongly opposed to ground sharing," Parry told the club website.

"The time has come to draw a line under this whole subject and move on."

Liverpool have spent a long time working on plans for a new 60,000-seater stadium near Anfield at Stanley Park, and did discuss the possibility of sharing it, but they could not come to a satisfactory agreement.

They hope to have the stadium ready for the start of the 2006-07 season, and Parry said so much time and money had already been put into the club's plans that they were not now going to change them now.

"Several million pounds expenditure and a huge amount of hard work have got us to the point where our planning application is about to be considered," he said.

"That planning application is based on single club use, a point we have consistently communicated to both the North West Development Agency and City Council. "

No public money for stadium


Liverpool and Everton will not be offered a 20m of public money to help towards a shared stadium.

It has been reported that the North West Development Agency was to give the clubs that sum to encourage them to share a ground.

But now the NWDA's chief executive has said that no public money will be used in the construction of the stadium.

Liverpool's planning application for a sporting arena in Stanley Park is up before the council later this month, but Everton's new chief executive Trevor Birch has indicated that he intends to approach Liverpool officials to talk about a ground share.

Steve Broomhead, NWDA chief executive, says that despite his hope that ground sharing could go ahead, no money from his the purse he controls would go towards easing the 80m cost of such a project.

He said: "We would not put any of our resources into the cost of constructing a shared stadium.

"Our interest is not putting money into the stadium itself but in helping to upgrade the community facilities, transport infrastructure and housing around the stadium. The 20m from ourselves, Europe and elsewhere, would be used for that."

Everton seek Reds talks

BBC Sport Online

Everton chief executive Trevor Birch has indicated that he is to formally approach Merseyside rivals Liverpool with a plan to share a new stadium.

Liverpool are hoping to build an 84m ground at Stanley Park and Everton's financial situation makes a groundshare their best option.

"In the next couple of weeks I will make this proposal to Liverpool," Birch told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"We need a new ground and we know it makes sense to share."

Everton's scheme to build a new stadium alongside the River Mersey at King's Dock collapsed last year.

Birch, who took over last month, insists the club must move away from Goodison Park in order to generate the additional revenue needed to compete in the Premiership.

Debts of about 30m make the prospect of building a new ground unrealistic without help from a second party.

Liverpool and Everton could also apply for a 20m grant from the North West Development Agency if they decide to team up and build a new stadium.

Reds want to change Park

By Jenny Watson - Liverpool Echo

Liverpool FC wants to move two buildings in Stanley park to make room for the new stadium.

The club has told the city council it wants to move the Grade II listed Monkey House bandstand and the bowling green pavilion.

If permission is granted, both will be dismantled, restored and then put back at the opposite end of the park, facing Goodison.

The move would pave the way for the 60,000-seat stadium and has previously been part of the whole planning application for the stadium.

But today a city council spokesman said the proposal was being brought before planners separately following a period of public consultation.

Chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park George Metalline criticised the proposals. He said: "There is a cellar underneath the pavilion, which must also be listed.

"How are they going to remove that?

"These buildings cannot just be lifted up and plonked somewhere else. The whole reason the bandstand was built in its current position was to enjoy a good view from every angle.

"We will be putting in an objection."

And the protesters who handed in a 10,000-strong petition against the scheme today said they would also be forwarding their opposition to this latest application.

Joe Kenny, chairman of the Anfield Regeneration Action Committee, said: "Moving these structures would destroy the original Victorian design of the park as the original architect planned it.

"It seems like the club is hoping to sneak some elements through to pave the way for their other plans."

Council planners are due to consider the plan later this summer.

There was no-one from Liverpool FC available to comment.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said: "We have been asked by the planning authority to give a view on the proposal and we are now looking at the plans."

Thousands oppose new stadium

By Al Campbell - LFC Online

A 10,000 strong petition against Liverpool's new stadium in Stanley Park was handed in by protesters this week.

Chairman of the Anfield Regeneration Action Committee Joe Kenny handed the protest in at Millenium house, home of the city council planning department, last Tuesday.

Mr Kenny said: "Today the people of Anfield delivered over 10,000 individual objections as well as an official statement outlining the reasons why the city council must not approve Liverpool Football Club's planning application.

"The official letter carries over 100 planning objections. In the light of this, we expect Liverpool City Council to reject LFC's plans as they are in total contradiction with the council's own planning policy.

"If passed, Liverpool City Council would be acting illegally and the individual councillors could well be culpable.

"We would seek to have the councillors who vote through this application removed from office on the grounds that they would be acting ultra vires (beyond their powers)."

Liverpool looked at 17 sites across Merseyside before deciding on Stanley Park.

Reds advised to change stadium site


A leading economist believes Stanley Park is the wrong location for Liverpool's new stadium and recommends a waterfront site instead.

University of Liverpool fellow Peter Stoney has now called on the club to build their new home on the banks of the Mersey in the Central Docks system.

And he also believes that the Reds should share their facilities with city rivals Everton.

Stoney's comments follow an admission made by Everton's new chief executive Trevor Birch that the Blues' priority was a new stadium and he was open-minded about ground sharing with Liverpool.

Stoney, a member of Professor Patrick Minford's influential economic think-tank, the Liverpool Macroeconomics Research Group, said his report had been commissioned by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

But he said: "That does not make any difference because the economic case for a ground at Central Docks is overwhelming, whereas there reamain major issues with Stanley Park.

"There is vast interest in Central Docks and I have no doubt that there are developers eagerly awaiting to snap up the land.

"Why have housing there when we are presented with a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for a world-class iconic stadium?"

And he also voiced his incomprehension that the City Council had not recognised the site's potential: "A stadium at Central Docks will have significant economic benefits for some of the most deprived areas of the city."

Both Liverpool FC and Liverpol City Council have declined to comment.

New talks on Red stadium

By Mike Hornby - Liverpol Echo

People are being given another chance to have their say on Liverpool Football Club's plans for a new Anfield.

The city council will reopen debate about the 80m stadium on Monday, when updated plans will be made public for the first time.

Among the new information is a report on the alternative sites for the stadium, a conservation plan for Stanley Park and a strategy for the proposed Anfield Plaza, on the site of the current stadium.

It means the planning application for the stadium at Stanley Park will not be considered by councillors until after local elections next month.

The club had hoped to get the green light some time this month so work could begin this summer.

But it is not thought the four-week delay will cause serious disruption to the construction timetable and club chiefs are confident the stadium will open in time for the 2006/07 season.

A council spokesman said: "Further information has been received from the club. This is in response to some questions we had about the stadium design and the proposed Anfield Plaza.

"Some minor changes have been made and we are allowing the public to view the plans for a second time until June 1."

The club submitted its original planning application last autumn but city council planners needed clarification on several issues.

They responded with a 46-page document covering various points of concern and the club has now sent its answers to the queries.

A spokesman for Liverpool FC said: "The planning application is with the council, I can't say when it will be be heard.

"When they consider the application I am sure they will let us know."

Joe Kenny, chairman of Anfield Regeneration Action Committee, which is leading the fight against the new Stadium, said: "The council is only re-opening part of the planning application, there is still very much more that the people of Anfield need to know.

"A lot of people are going to object because the quality of this stadium is poor and building on Stanley Park is wrong."

A major consultation exercise two years ago found majority support for the scheme but the method used in that consultation has been widely criticised by opponents.

* The new plans will be made available to the public at Millennium House, Victoria Street, from Monday morning.

Delay threat to new stadium

By Andy Kelly - Daily Post

Liverpool Football Club last night admitted for the first time that their plans for a new 60,000-seat stadium in Stanley Park could be delayed.

Chief executive Rick Parry was the man who dropped the biggest hint yet that the club's hopes of starting the 2006 season in Stanley Park may now be unrealistic.

Mr Parry's comments come at a time when the proposed new 80m stadium has still not been scheduled to come before the city's planning committee.

It had been hoped that planning permission for the stadium would be granted in March - with work possibly starting on site in May.

But a council spokesman last night confirmed the LFC stadium was still not listed for the next planning meeting on May 4.

Sources confirmed to the Daily Post that it was "highly unlikely" that the stadium plan would be considered by councillors before the "all-out" elections on June 10.

Already then the timescale has slipped by at least three months and that is before the possibility of a legal challenge by opponents and further public consultation.

Mr Parry said: "There's always a host of issues which arise, as has been the case this time. It's too early at this stage to say what it means for the opening date but none of the delays help, let's put it that way.

"I don't think it (the stadium) will fail. I think there may be delays, there may be areas that have to be modified but we would be very disappointed if we ended up with a 'No' because that would essentially mean we hadn't done our homework somewhere along the line."

The city council stuck to a well-worn party line highlighting the possibility of the people of Anfield being asked again about the stadium - despite a widespread public consultation in 2002.

Opponents of the LFC plans hope they will be "called in" by the Government because it involves building on part of a Victorian public park.

After the stadium plans were originally submitted last November, council planning officers sent the club a 46-page dossier of issues that needed to be addressed.

It is the club's response to that which is currently being studied.

The chief executive also played down fears the club might struggle to fill a 60,000-seat stadium, given the team's recent indifferent form.

Joe Kenny, of the Anfield Regeneration Action Committee, said: "I'm not surprised it could be delayed.

"We are talking to lawyers and, even if this gets approved by the planning committee, we think we will be able to mount legal action delaying it yet further, if not indefinitely."

Now club answer critics

By Mike Hornby - Liverpool Echo

Plans for Liverpool Football Club's new stadium will be considered by planning chiefs in May.

The council has confirmed that the club has now responded to concerns about the 80m scheme.

If LFC gain planning approval, building work could begin later this year.

It means the stadium is still on track for opening in time for the 2006/07 season.

But if there is further delay, the proposal will not be considered until after the local elections in June, throwing the scheme months off track.

Club spokesman Ian Cotton said: "We have responded to the council's document and we are confident it will address all the concerns.

"The club has not been given a date when the stadium will be considered by planners, but we are confident that everything will go smoothly, to allow us to open on schedule."

The club submitted its original planning application last autumn but city council planners needed clarification on several issues.

They responded with a 46-page document covering concerns and the club has now sent its answers to them.

Campaigners opposing the club's bid to build on Stanley Park accused the council of rushing the scheme through without proper consultation.

Joe Kenny, chairman of Anfield Regeneration Action Committee, which is leading the fight against the new stadium, said: "The whole

situation is being fast-tracked because the club wants to get the building work under way as quickly as possible.

"We expected that such a sensitive planning application, which will affect the lives of thousands, would be given due consideration.

"If the club has only just responded to the council's 46-page document, and already there is a date for the hearing, that consideration is clearly not taking place."

A major consultation exercise was conducted two years ago into whether people in Anfield supported the club's move to Stanley Park.

It found majority support but the consultation method has been widely criticised by opponents of the move.

A council spokesman said: "No date has been set but we are looking at the club's response and considering the details. We will carry out the necessary consultation."

Reds will scrap new stadium plan if costs soar

By Andy Hunter - Daily Post

Rick Parry last night admitted Liverpool would ditch plans for a new stadium if building costs spiralled beyond 80m.

The Reds chief executive told the club's 111th annual general meeting the 60,000-seater arena would pay for itself over a 15-year period and not affect transfer funds.

But he warned the Stanley Park project would be in danger if Liverpool could not fix construction costs at 80m - their total outlay in the 120m project.

Mr Parry said: "It would be crazy to say there is no risk. There is a risk, but we believe it is justifiable. We feel we can afford the construction costs of 80m. If it rises much above that we will pull the plug."

The Anfield official insisted there was no room for delay if the stadium were to achieve its 2006 deadline, although a legal challenge by the Anfield Regeneration Action Committee could make that inevitable.

The Reds ruled out a private equity plan, which would allow supporters to invest in the plan, and offers to become tenants in a stadium built by a third party.

Liverpool are due for further talks on a shared stadium today with Everton, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision and the North West Development Agency.

But Parry added: "There has been a strong reaction from our supporters over the shared stadium issue.

"The vast majority are against it and this is a weight of opinion that cannot be ignored."

Thor Zakariassen