It’s officially official.
Everton can now proceed with their plans to build a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock after the UK Government gave the project the green light.
Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, contacted the Toffees on Friday to confirm they could go ahead with their plans.
An Everton statement said:
The decision to approve a new 52,888-capacity waterfront arena allows the club to complete its agreed acquisition of the site from Peel L&P and the funding solution for the project, ensuring the club can begin to make the plans a reality.
It is estimated that the stadium development and plans for a Goodison Legacy will deliver a £1.3bn boost to the economy, create more than 15,000 jobs and attract 1.4m new visitors to the city.
On such a momentous day, the football club would like to thank every Evertonian, along with the many organisations, the tens of thousands of people across the city region and the team of dedicated staff who have played a vital role in ensuring the club reached today’s milestone.
Liverpool City Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the plans last month but referred the final decision to central government, standard practice for a project of this size.
Even if the plans were called in for an inquiry Everton remained confident that they would eventually be approved given the meticulous planning they put into the project.
In the end those fears were allayed and the club can now press ahead with building what will be the third stadium in the club’s 143-year history.
The next step now is to complete the purchase of the land and confirm the source of funding. Once that it is in place Everton hope to begin building work in late spring, with the Toffees due to kick-off in their new home at the start of the 2024-25 season.
An historic moment for Everton
This has the potential to be a real game-changing moment, not just for Everton but for the city of Liverpool.
This project will transform areas of Liverpool’s historic waterfront that have been neglected and forgotten for far too long, boosting the economy by providing jobs and increasing tourism.
For Everton it is the chance to once again have a world-class stadium - Goodison for so long was one of the world’s best but has been in decline for decades - that will help the club fulfil its commercial potential which in turn can boost on-field performance.
We are delighted with today's decision to approve @Everton's new stadium here at Liverpool Waters. This is a unique opportunity for Liverpool and in particular the northern parts of this great city that are in need of continuing regeneration. #liverpool https://t.co/pGM6RC1sNC pic.twitter.com/4rEi4gaGWV— Liverpool Waters (@PeelLivWaters) March 26, 2021
Credit has to go to Farhad Moshiri for making all this possible. Everton have been looking for a new home for more than three decades and have a litany of failures blotting their copy book. But Mr Moshiri has put his money where his mouth his to help to make this dream a reality.
Farewell to the Grand Old Lady
While we are all excited about the club’s bright new future on the waterfront, this does mean that the clock is now ticking on Goodison Park.
It will be a a truly sad day when we say farewell to the Grand Old Lady. Yes, she is starting to show signs of age, but for most of her existence stood tall as one of the best stadiums in the country. And even now, on her day, with a packed crowd, can be one of the most intimidating arenas to play in.
We can only hope some of that Goodison magic can come with us to Bramley Moore.
I urge anyone who had yet to make the trip to Goodison to do so in the next three years. It is a truly special arena the likes of which we will never see again.