Investment in new Everton FC stadium will be part of wider regeneration scheme - council
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Investment in new Everton FC stadium must be part of wider regeneration scheme - council
Liverpool City Council said today that any investment it makes in the development of a new stadium for Everton Football Club would be as part of a "wider regeneration scheme" that would benefit the whole city.
Everton FC officials are focusing attention on a potential site for a new purpose-built stadium inside the city boundaries of Liverpool, according to chief executive Robert Elstone.
Last June, the Premier League club revealed it was exploring a location for a potential new stadium in collaboration with the council.
A series of sites are still being explored - with one attracting particular attention.
A team of external advisors, including planners, architects, designers and regeneration experts, have been consulted on the proposed venture, with the viability of a 50,000 capacity new home under consideration.
"The stadium remains a big priority," said Elstone. "We're not ruling out any of the sites that we've identified and that the council has presented to us, but there is one site which is getting more attention and has been getting more attention for a number of months.
"It has been worked on very carefully, diligently and in some detail by not only Everton, but by the council and by advisors, planners, architects, designers, cost consultants, regeneration experts and solicitors. So there's a lot of work going into something that we're very excited about.
"We need a council being supportive financially and supportive entrepreneurially as well. At the moment there are signs that they are being that, and that's to be welcomed and we're delighted with that.
"We hope it comes to fruition and, if it does, I think it's something that the city and our fans will be very proud of."
While significant progress has been made, Elstone was keen to stress that any move would be dependent on a number of key factors.
He continued: "The board is currently looking not only at this opportunity but also the associated risks and the debt that the club may well have to take on to deliver this, which may or may not be the right thing to do.
"That's exactly where we are in terms of the project at the moment - that consideration is ongoing by the board.
"But, in summary, there's a degree of optimism - perhaps some cautious optimism - but a degree of optimism.
"We wouldn't be investing what we're doing without thinking it had a chance of success, and there's a commitment as always to share information with our fans as soon as we can."
In a statement Liverpool City Council said: "Following reports in the media today, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to working with Everton FC in relation to their new stadium proposals.
"As with all large scale regeneration projects with the potential to create jobs and investment in Liverpool, the city council will look at ways it can support the wider regeneration scheme but no firm options have been developed in terms of how or where this will take shape.
"This work is ongoing and we will announce the details of the location and support we will be offering once this has been further developed. However, we must stress that the city council is clearly not in a position to fund the costs of a new stadium.
"Any investment the council makes would be in a wider regeneration scheme, subject to a sound financial and economic rationale for doing so."
Last week, the council's cabinet gave the green light to a draft framework setting out £260 million regeneration plans for the Anfield area of Liverpool, including the expansion of the club's stadium.
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