Liverpool Football Club finally provided fans with the latest update on the redeveloped Anfield stadium this week, with details on the regeneration of North Liverpool given out via the club website.
A long-deprived and run-down area, Anfield and the surrounding area looks set for a major face-lift according to the news release, which will come as a welcome information release for many.
Central to the club's plans for the area's regeneration is, of course, the expansion of Anfield stadium, something which fans have been waiting the best part of two decades to see realised. The total investment in the plans is expected to be around £260 million.
Here's the run-down on every pertinent point from the latest on the stadium and the surrounding area.
Liverpool FC: Anfield Stadium First
Although fans will be expectant of news of the stadium first and foremost, no additional details were released about the plans of Anfield at this time. Club managing director Ian Ayre noted in the news release that the stadium was part of the plans, but little else with specific reference to the stadium:
This is also an important milestone as we seek to investigate the feasibility of expanding our stadium. We will continue this work, which is just one part of the wider Anfield vision, and there is a great deal of work still to be done to bring those plans to fruition.
We have always said that any stadium expansion will be subject to detailed economic and social feasibility studies and the community and home owners' support, which includes our ability to purchase the land for the proposed expansion. Any expansion is also subject to the club being able to navigate the planning landscape and we are pleased to say that very positive progress is being made.
On the Anfield Project website, there is again a similarly small note on the stadium itself:
In October 2012, Liverpool Football Club confirmed its preference was to stay and expand Anfield stadium subject to detailed feasibility studies and the community and home owners’ support.
The Club believes the wider Anfield regeneration vision being led by Liverpool City Council is an important step to transforming the area for the better.
This project, the latest step in the club being able to improve and expand Anfield stadium, clearly revolves around the feasibility of the regeneration of the entire area, of which Liverpool's ground would be just one part—albeit an important one from the club's point of view.
Regeneration of Stanley Park
Stanley Park is the dividing patch which separates Anfield stadium from Everton's Goodison Park stadium.
Already part-redeveloped, the plans indicate that Stanley Park would see its regeneration completed with the addition of a large food hub—10,000 square metres in size—as a main feature. A re-vamped car park is also set to see work, while further plans for the park are yet to be finalised, pending discussions with local residents and businesses.
It is likely that some form of cultural or arts-based projects will be included.
Finally, there is an intention to implement the "creation of a major, pedestrian-friendly new avenue" which will run through Stanley Park, linking the park to a new public village square at one end. A business centre with offices and a 100-bed hotel are also included in the plans for the village centre, where training of young professionals can take place.
Businesses and Public Benefits
The regeneration of the entire area, including two roads on either side of Stanley Park—Walton Breck Road and Oakfield Road—will hopefully encourage more pedestrians and consumers to visit the area, as well the pedestrianisation of the region.
There are major plans for housing in the region, too.
Plans are afoot to remove "around 300 derelict and sub-standard properties," while 550 homes in Anfield and Rockfield will be renovated or improved. In a nearby housing estate, a further 250 energy-efficient properties will be built by the construction company with a stake in the Anfield Project.
More Positives, and What Next?
The plans suggest that up to 700 full-time employment opportunities may be created in the area, an obvious positive over the long term of the project.
One of the biggest selling points of the project is intended to be the avenue through the park, which will provide better links by foot for the entire area and encourage use of the zone to all nearby residents and visitors. Given that it will also link Goodison Park and Anfield stadiums, it seems pertinent and possible that the avenue may be named after a player who traversed the Merseyside divide.
From now, the city council, the club and the construction company are in a six-week period of consultation with the local stakeholders for suggestions over what to use the various areas of the park and its surroundings for.
After that, the group will ratify the final uses and a further consultation period will ensue; all in all, it will be next year—at an unspecified point—when final plans are submitted for the project.
There is still clearly an awful long way to go before Liverpool fans see their stadium expanded to a more impressive size, but the Anfield Project is an apparently important step in ensuring that the entire area, and not just the club, benefit from any changes.