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#285593 - 21st Jan 2009 2:39pm Everton FC housing plans rejected
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A planning hearing into Everton's application for housing at the football club's former training ground in West Derby has rejected the proposals.

The meeting was held after Everton appealed against a Liverpool City Council decision to reject plans for 74 homes to be built on the site.

Cash from the Sale of the land is to be used to help fund the club's proposed move to a £400m complex in Kirkby.

A council spokesman said its decision was based purely on merit.

The club has drawn up proposals for a 50,000-seat stadium, in partnership with retailer Tesco and Knowsley Council.

Under the plans, Everton would move from Goodison Park in Liverpool to the neighbouring borough of Knowsley.

A public inquiry is being held into whether Everton and Tesco should be allowed to build a £400m complex, including the new stadium.

Liverpool City Council explained that it had turned down the housing application based "purely on its planning merits", a decision which it said had the support of the planning inspector.

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#285647 - 21st Jan 2009 5:26pm Re: Everton FC housing plans rejected [Re: ]
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EVERTON FC today hit out at city council leaders after losing an inquiry into the building of homes on its former training ground.

The decision will result in the loss of up to £10m from the Sale which was due to part-fund the club’s proposed move to Kirkby.

Although the loss will not impact on the proposed move – the club will now find the cash elsewhere – the board of directors and chairman Bill Kenwright are furious at the decision.

The inquiry upheld Liverpool council’s decision to block the club’s plans to build 74 large family homes on the Bellefield site in West Derby.

Councillors on the planning committee had rejected the proposals even though the city’s assistant chief planning officer, Mike Burchnall, recommended the scheme for approval.

Sources within Everton believe privately this was Liverpool council’s way of punishing the club for planning to leave the city.

Today Everton’s acting chief executive Robert Elstone said: “The truly disappointing aspect of this is that the politicians who run this city went against the recommendations of the city council's own planning experts

“In such circumstances you have to ask, why that is. What is the point in employing experienced and learned experts if you are simply going to ignore their advice?

“Over the past few years we have constantly shown a willingness to work with Liverpool city council to safeguard the long-term future of our football club. Sadly, it does not appear to be a reciprocal arrangement.

The council's own senior planning officer threw his weight behind this project – he believes it to be suitable and sensible, and so do we.

THE ECHO

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