Everton Chief Executive Officer, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, has revealed the Club "is confident of securing a successful planning determination very soon" as it awaits the green light to begin work on a new 52,888-capacity stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.
Addressing Shareholders at a virtual General Meeting held on Thursday, Professor Barrett-Baxendale also confirmed the Club is continuing to undertake supporter research to inform decisions about how future matchdays would look at a new waterside home.
The Club submitted an amended planning application for Bramley-Moore Dock to Liverpool City Council in September last year after addressing feedback from statutory consultees to the original planning application lodged in December 2019.
Design improvements including the introduction of a stepped plaza and the removal of the multi-storey car park on the West Stand (the stand facing the River Mersey) were part of the amended proposal.
"Liverpool City Council’s public consultation period [on the amended planning application] closed in October and the Club is confident of securing a successful planning determination very soon, with the potential to commence construction on-site shortly thereafter," said Barrett-Baxendale.
"While the Club awaits the determination of a planning application, we continue to pursue a range of funding opportunities, including senior debt, alternative sources of equity and subordinated debt.
"Phase two due diligence is currently being conducted to support the funding process, including direct research with supporters to help shape what matchdays will look like at the new stadium."
Barrett-Baxendale also thanked staff and stakeholders for the progress made on the stadium and Goodison Legacy project during the past 12 months, despite the unavoidable impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Club and construction industry.
In addition to the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, the Club submitted an outline planning application to Liverpool City Council for a community-led legacy development at Goodison Park in April last year.
The proposals would see Everton’s current home redeveloped to provide a range of community assets in Liverpool 4 after the Club's move, including high quality and affordable housing, a multi-purpose health centre, community-led retail spaces, a youth enterprise zone, office and business facilities and green space.
"The progress [on the stadium project] is testament to the hard work, expertise and dedication shown by Club staff, our consultants and key stakeholders, despite the extremely challenging conditions over the past 12 months," said Barrett-Baxendale.
"The Club has also continued to make significant progress in our plans for a community-led legacy at Goodison Park. This will build upon an ongoing programme of investment in community facilities within L4 and will ensure the heartbeat of the Club remains in the local community it has called home for nearly 130 years."
Barrett-Baxendale, who was joined in presenting at the General Meeting by Everton's Chief Finance and Commercial Officer, Sasha Ryazantsev, also reiterated the financial benefits - and increased commercial potential - a new stadium would afford the Club.
She said: "The new stadium presents us with a number of crucial opportunities to grow revenue, including general admissions, hospitality, partnerships, catering, retail and revenue from concerts, conferences and other events."