Everton have announced that they are to explore the possibility of a new stadium at Walton Hall Park.
No details have been announced about the size of the stadium or the design or where the money is to come from.
With the location only a couple of miles from Goodison Park, that would seem positive.
In our view the stadium must be at least 50,000 and the cost of the stadium must not cripple the club and effect the team building while the stadium is being built or repaid.
This is the full statement below:
Liverpool City Council and Everton Football Club have announced their intention to progress a transformational regeneration opportunity for North Liverpool, based at Walton Hall Park.
The commitment to collaborate and explore the development of the park follows an exhaustive search for suitable sites within the city. The Council and the Club will now work with public, private and voluntary sector partners, including Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and Everton in the Community, to explore and understand community needs and then develop and ultimately deliver a new, vibrant and sustainable neighbourhood for North Liverpool.
The outline of the proposed scheme, spearheaded by a new stadium for Everton Football Club, seeks to embrace extensive, new community facilities and secure over 1,000 new, much-needed and sustainable jobs to the area through an exciting and multi-faceted development. Significant sections of the park will be retained to provide better quality and more varied leisure and recreational facilities. The opportunity to incorporate wide-ranging and impactful community benefits including innovative educational, health and lifestyle provision will also be explored.
Evertonians are invited to register their interest in attending forthcoming engagement events regarding the opportunity by visiting www.evertonfc.com/yourstadium.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson said: "I am really pleased that we have identified this exciting opportunity for North Liverpool. We know that this is an area of the city that requires substantial investment and this project could bring this in a unique form.
"Everton's investment into this area would be the catalyst for a development which could make a real difference. We know from other regeneration schemes that opportunities like this can lead to significant economic and social benefits. This scheme would generate significant new job opportunities and also address important social needs such as health and education.
"We also see this as an opportunity to create an outdoor space with first-class leisure and recreational facilities that will really appeal to the local community. This is a starting point for something which could be a real game changer for this part of the city."
Club Chairman Bill Kenwright added: "On my journey to our home games, as I pass Walton Hall Park, I inevitably think that I am only a minute away from our beloved Goodison...for several years now, I've also thought, if only it was available for our new stadium, it ticks all the boxes.
"An opportunity to explore the possibility of securing the new home we've looked for, for so long, is hugely exciting to me, but to do that in a way that supports, transforms and sustains our local communities, in our Everton heartland, is such a wonderful, added bonus. It would fill me with great pride. It could be something very special for our city, the residents of North Liverpool and all Evertonians - a new home that goes beyond football and does what Everton does better than anyone else.
"Of course, there's an enormous amount of work to do - that again, involves fixing a huge financial jigsaw - but we are certain it's an opportunity we should pursue with great commitment, endeavour and ambition. To get every aspect right will take time as well as the continued support we've received to date from Joe Anderson and his colleagues at the City Council. That partnership will be vital.
"Like all Evertonians, I love Goodison Park and have done since the day I first set foot in the Boy's Pen but the prospect of developing a new stadium, and a new and vibrant community, just down the road from us, is to be grasped and encouraged."
Everton Chief Executive Officer Robert Elstone said: "I have to thank Joe Anderson and the Liverpool City Council for the support shown to us to date and the resource they have committed to the project over the past four years. Over that period, our partnership has explored, with a can-do attitude, several potential sites and many development options and it is the spirit of regeneration that has seen this scheme emerge as the prospect we should now jointly pursue.
"We are delighted to be the conduit for the Council's commitment to enhancing the outlook of the residents of North Liverpool. We are equally delighted to be exploring an opportunity that allows us to reinforce our commitment to our community, our neighbours and our fans. Everton in the Community has demonstrated how sport can have a huge social impact in the local area and we would relish the opportunity to expand some of this work through this scheme.
"At the start of this journey, a number of challenges lay ahead of us but the opportunity we have created is exciting and merits our resources and energy. We don't know how long the journey will take but we won't lack for stamina or commitment. It is also essential that we bring our fans with us. Both the Council and the Club will commit to listening to Evertonians and we look forward to sharing this journey with our fans."
LMH Chief Executive Steve Coffey commented: "LMH is at the heart of the local community in North Liverpool, is the major landlord in the vicinity of Walton Hall Park and is the City Council's Strategic Housing Delivery Partner. As such we are committed to enhancing community facilities, supporting a successful economy and creating a balanced housing offer for the area.
"We are very excited at the prospect of integrating any new proposals with the existing communities and we are looking forward to working with local residents and other stakeholders to explore this further."
The partners will now develop ideas for the site in collaboration with the local community. This could lead to a formal planning application being lodged in the next 12 months, following a series of community engagement and supporter engagement events. Financing for the scheme will be led by Everton Football Club with support from a number of partners.
More information about the overall scheme and the opportunity to register for local community engagement events can be found at www.waltonhallparkproject.co.uk
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