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Everton new stadium planning decision delayed again

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Council decision not now expected until the new year

A decision whether to grant Everton planning permission to build a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock has been delayed until the new year, according to the Liverpool Echo.

The Toffees had originally hoped a decision by Liverpool City Council would be made this month, allowing work to begin in earnest at the start of 2021.

Those plans have been dashed for now, though preparatory work has been taking place on the site for several weeks.

It is likely that the club will be able to move quickly once a decision is made, presuming the council approve the plans.

The report states that the delay is down to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. With resources stretched, the council has not yet gone through the full planning proposal.

It is hoped the planning committee will give the green light to the project in late January. Despite the delay, Everton still hope to be in the new stadium in time for the first game of the 2024-25 season.

Planning was initially hoped to be granted over the summer, with work beginning in September, but the pandemic has understandably put a strain on resources, making delays almost inevitable.

The club also tweaked part of the plans following Liverpool City Council guidance and to address World Heritage Site concerns. Though that did not require a full re-submission of the plans, a 28-day consultation period was needed.

There is still a risk that the project could be ‘called in’ for review by central government, which would likely mean an inquiry before a final decision by the Secretary of State.

This is something Everton will obviously hope to avoid, given the costs any further delay would bring. The Toffees will hope their extensive consolation period last year and overwhelming public support for the project will negate the need for any further scrutiny by the government.

Evertonians are understandably twitchy given the failed ground moves of the recent past, but it seems this latest hitch is out of their hands.

Their commitment to the project seems absolute, with the latest financial accounts revealing the club spent £20m on planning, design and preparation for the stadium over the past year.

Just like matters on the pitch, Evertonians will just have to be patient and put faith in the club to get things right in the long term.