On the one hand the Toffees are boasting their exemplary consultation process, on the other they reaffirm that planning application will be submitted before year end.
Although final evaluation of the consultation process won't be available until November, Everton FC have already revealed the numbers behind their two-phased consultation.
A total of 63,207 people got involved over both stages, with 20,168 in the first and 43,039 in the second. Of the latter number, some 15,000 people visited the mobile exhibits held by Everton around the metropolitan area.
So far we only know the outcome of the first stage, held back in 2018. It saw 94% agreeing that Bramley-Moore Dock is the right location for a future stadium and 95% in favour of the Goodison Park redevelopment scheme. It is to be expected that the second round, following release of exciting renders of the stadium, will confirm the enthusiasm.
Because Everton is still overshadowed by Liverpool FC in many respects, the team decided to make the most of their consultation process. “[…] with Everton’s commitment to engagement and consultation having already been hailed as exemplary by leading experts in civic engagement, sports business and marketing.” we can read in the club's statement.
According to the Toffees, it's the largest commercial consultation process within Merseyside and one of the largest across the UK. We can add to the list, because over 63,000 responses is also a huge stadium consultation Europe-wide.
Keep in mind, Everton had already hosted a major consultation process back in 2007, when it asked supporters whether relocation to Kirkby was a good idea. That vote proved far more contentious, with only 59% saying yes and 41% against. Back then a big portion of the surveys (11,000) were not returned on time and the vote wasn't considered particularly successful. But asking fans is always a good idea, regardless of the issue.
Back to the Bramley-Moore front, Everton took the opportunity to cut rumours of possible delays or funding shortages. “We have been busy working our way through the tens of thousands of comments and ideas and analysing the results which will inform our proposals as we progress to submitting our planning applications before the end of the year.” said director for stadium development Colin Chong.
He means both planning applications: detailed one for the new stadium and outline planning application for the Goodison Park legacy project, which will see residential, community, medical and leisure functions replace the historical stadium.
With 52,000 seats and possible seating/standing capacity of 62,000 (should safe standing become legal), the new Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium would boost Everton's domestic and – hopefuly – international profile. The stadium has a provisional construction time frame of 2020-2023 and a price tag understood to be in excess of 500 million.