Everton FC have moved a step closer to breaking ground for their new state-of-the-art stadium on Liverpool’s Bramley-Moore Dock. The Toffees’ hierarchy have sought Listed Building Consent from Liverpool City Council, enabling the club to commence work on redeveloping the Grade II listed hydraulic tower on the site of its new proposed stadium.
Goodison Park has been the home of Everton for around 130 years. Its history compares with other iconic English stadia such as the old Wembley Stadium, which underwent its £798m overhaul and is now the finest arena in Europe. It’s set to stage this summer’s EURO 2020 semis and the final, with hopes abound that Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions will be part of these games given that England have inched into pre-tournament favoritism with many bookmakers at present.
Everton fans will also be desperately hoping that their club and new stadium can be involved in major finals in the coming seasons, with the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium currently slated to be ready for the commencement of the 2024/25 season. It promises to be a spectacular landmark, looking out to the River Mersey. The next part of the project’s building blocks is to secure Listed Building Consent for the 138-year-old Hydraulic Tower, giving the Toffees rights to alter this structure of historic or special architectural interest.
The Hydraulic Tower: A focal point for the Toffees’ proposed fan plaza
The current proposals are to include the Hydraulic Tower as a design feature in the new stadium’s ‘fan plaza’. The club wishes to improve the weather-tightness of the tower, as well as its structure, to enable it to house a state-of-the-art exhibition center celebrating the heritage of the club and Bramley-Moore Dock. Already, the city council’s planning committee have approved the planning application for the new stadium and to alter the use of the Hydraulic Tower. However, the Listed Building Consent is the final tick in the box to enable works to commence.
The club has sought to reassure the planning committee that it will look to maintain the heritage of the Hydraulic Tower and ensure it is “sympathetic to its past” as well as “sustainable for its future”. Although Everton officials anticipate that it will be a few months before a final decision is known, the future of the Hydraulic Tower is not linked to the construction of the new stadium. If any delays occur with obtaining Listed Building Consent, the new 52,888-seat stadium will continue to be built. The delays will simply impinge upon Everton’s fan plaza plans.
There was immense relief when Liverpool City Council formally gave the green light for the project to commence in February. In March, the UK government also confirmed it would not look to call in the proposals, leaving the club free to tie up the loose ends of the project before breaking ground later this summer.
Regeneration abounds along the north Liverpool waterfront
The Hydraulic Tower and the new exhibition center are just one of multiple developments expected to line the Bramley-Moore Dock fan plaza. Proposals for a new boutique hotel on Regent Road, opposite the entrance to the Bramley-Moore Dock waterfront, received approval from the city council.
The renovation of this vacant warehouse is likely to be one of many projects inspired by the arrival of Everton and the opportunity to be part of regenerating the north Liverpool waterfront. With the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium due to arrive and transform this neglected corner of Liverpool, another developer is planning to commence a residential development that would also provide direct access between the West Waterloo Dock and Bramley-Moore Dock.
Developers Romal Capital have submitted planning for a trio of residential blocks, comprising 330 domestic flats and apartments, as well as ground floor commercial units. The showpiece for this project would be a six-meter-wide fully covered dockside walkway, enabling fans to eventually walk to Everton’s new stadium with much-needed shelter.
The proposals have already courted objections from residents in the local area, while Historic England has also repeatedly requested alterations to the original design. If the local authorities do permit this development, the construction is expected to finish by the middle of 2023, creating a purpose-built link between Albert Dock and Bramley-Moore Dock well in advance of Everton’s arrival.
The economic case for Everton’s new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium
In economic terms, Everton’s new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium will be a game-changer for Liverpool. Iain Jenkinson, senior director of planning and development at CBRE, described the project as a “once-in-a-generation” chance to undertake one of the most “unique regenerative investments” Liverpool has ever seen. CBRE worked closely with Everton FC to determine the economic benefits of the stadium move, with the organization eventually calculating a contribution worth over £900m to the area – that's before the stadium is even ready for action.
During the construction period of the stadium alone, some 12,000 jobs will be created in north Liverpool, with £255m expected to be spent in the city based on service costs and new supply chains. Once the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium opens its doors to fans, CBRE estimates it will generate £94m a year in retail and tourism, providing a similar boost to the past waterfront developments of the Exhibition Centre and the Liverpool Echo Arena.
The biggest concern for long-standing Evertonians will be a fear of being disjointed from its city center roots. However, plenty of work is ongoing to provide direct links between the city center and the waterfront, including a new £20m dual carriageway. Everton’s stadium relocation is also set to breathe new life into Liverpool’s waterfront as a ferry and cruise terminal. The existing Isle of Man ferry terminal is scheduled for a full makeover, while a new state-of-the-art Cruise Liner facility is also in the pipeline, which could put Liverpool back on the map as a global cultural hotspot.