Fans' Group Pens Emotional Open Letter Ahead Of Stadium Feedback Deadline

Merseyside residents, local businesses and stakeholders have until Friday 20 March to offer feedback to Liverpool City Council on Everton's proposals for a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and Goodison Park legacy project.

Ahead of the deadline, Brendan Connolly of the Everton Heritage Society - a voluntary group which researches and celebrates the Club's rich history - has penned an emotional open letter to the council's planning department on why the proposals have their "wholehearted support" and will deliver "economic and social regeneration benefits".

Everton's planning application was submitted in December 2019 and can be viewed here. Comments on the application need to be made in writing by 20 March 2020 quoting the application reference number 20F/0001. Comments should be emailed to the dedicated council application email address: efcapp@liverpool.gov.uk

Read Mr Connolly's letter in full below.

The Everton FC Heritage Society is a voluntary group researching and chronicling the rich history of Everton Football Club and we write to offer our wholehearted support for the Club’s proposals to relocate to Bramley-Moore Dock.

The Society consists of researchers, historians, authors, journalists and memorabilia collectors, all with a great interest and love for the heritage of our great club.

Everton Football Club is a vitally important and historic institution in the city of Liverpool. Since 1878, our football club has been a feature of the city’s cultural and physical landscape in much the same way as Liverpool’s dock system has. Everton and the docks are synonymous with one another.

The club was founded at the same time as the third great expansion phase of the dock-system, when walking to work felt very much like walking to the match for the thousands of people that would have lived in north Liverpool. Fans, and players, would have worked at the docks and then watched, and even played, for our football club. During several notable periods in the city’s history of sometimes extremely harsh social, political and economic hardship, Liverpool’s docks and Everton have always been there for each other, through the years of casualism, the unionising movement, global wars and rapid economic decline.

Throughout our city’s social history, great Liverpool institutions such as Everton and the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board have always worked together to provide that pastoral role for the city. In this respect alone, the move to Bramley-Moore Dock is, without question, the right move for our football club.

As well as providing a new home for our football team, we are greatly encouraged by the proposals to bring back into use the Hydraulic Tower as a visitor attraction and for the opportunity for it to be used to tell the story of football and the docks, working with other Liverpool institutions such as the National Museums and The Everton Collection, the world’s largest collection of football memorabilia related to one club.

We are also hugely supportive of Everton’s intention to retain a presence at Goodison Park. This is also an exciting opportunity to pay due respect to the heritage of our football club and base proposals for the future based on what Everton is all about: The People’s Club. 

The new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock is hugely exciting. It says everything about our Club that great care and attention have been taken towards the design of the stadium. From the planning application designs presented and the views across the Mersey, it genuinely does feel as though this has always been there and part of the dock system. It certainly does not look out of place with its brick industrial warehouse appearance, working well with the water assets and historical features (like Stanley Dock) that surround it, and reflective of the Club’s heritage through Archibald Leitch architecture. This is a chance for Everton to create social history and heritage for a new generation.

The Everton FC Heritage Society has chartered our proud history since our foundation. We do understand the importance of a new stadium move for the Club’s future in the global Premier League but this in itself is an opportunity to tell our story, the city’s story, to an even greater audience. There is a heritage story here to be told, and a story that we feel frustratingly gets missed in the way the city promotes its other authentic genuine heritage assets on a world-wide level.

We are thrilled by the proposals we have seen to date and by the opportunity that the Bramley-Moore Dock site offers the Club. We believe that it is the only site available. Furthermore, we are convinced that it is the right site in the right location for our Club. We have seen over the years the added value contribution that the Club makes to the regional economy and local society and we wholeheartedly believe that the benefits of the re-location will be fully realised.

In summary:

  • Bramley-Moore Dock is the only site in the city for Everton to develop their stadium;
  • The move to Bramley-Moore Dock will deliver economic and social regeneration benefits; similar in impact to the Liverpool ONE development;
  • The People’s Project offers a unique opportunity for a more complete heritage story of Liverpool’s dock history to be told through the stadium, the Hydraulic Tower proposal and the emerging plans for the Goodison Legacy;
  • The people of Liverpool, and the wider city-region, evidenced by the Club’s public consultation, want this to happen.

We support the planning application for Bramley Moore Dock and the Goodison Legacy project wholeheartedly and look forward to the next phase of development.

Yours sincerely,

Brendan Connolly
Chairperson
Everton FC Heritage Society

Everton submitted its plans for a 52,888-seat football stadium within Bramley-Moore Dock on 23 December 2019. The application, consisting of more than 50 technical documents covering 30 subject areas, can be viewed here.

Comments on the application need to be made in writing by 20 March 2020 quoting the application reference number 20F/0001. Comments should be emailed to the dedicated council application email address: efcapp@liverpool.gov.uk.

 

 

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