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New Everton stadium faces inquiry

Everton had feared a delay could kill off the stadium scheme
Everton Football Club's proposed move to a new stadium out of Liverpool has
been called in for a public inquiry.

Government officials announced the decision on the £400m Kirkby development,
which also includes a Tesco superstore, on Wednesday evening.

The club previously expressed fears an inquiry would put back the project for up
to a year.

In a statement club officials said they were disappointed by the decision, but
stressed it "did not spell the end".

The 50,000-seat stadium proposals are part of the wider regeneration of Kirkby
town centre, which is in Liverpool's neighbouring borough of Knowsley.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, which has been
assessing the application, said ministers had carefully considered the plans. It is
important to stress that this decision does not spell the end of the Destination
Kirkby project

Everton statement

A spokesman said: "We recognise that there have been strong views expressed
about this complex proposal.

"Ministers thought long and hard about the case and decided the only
appropriate decision was to call it in.

"There is a long-established process in place where less than 0.01% of all
planning cases are called in.

"A case is considered to have more than local significance if it triggers one or
more of the call-in criteria such as conflict with national policy, or if it causes
national or regional controversy.

"The decision to call-in does not consider the merits or otherwise of an
application - which is a matter for the inspector to consider at inquiry."

Fans split

In a statement, Everton officials said: "We are disappointed by the decision.

"Having spent more than two years working diligently on a project which would
not only provide Everton Football Club with a new home but also regenerate
Kirkby, we had hoped to avoid a government call-in.

"Indeed, it was only in June that Knowsley Borough Council's Planning Committee
voted by a majority of 20 to one to grant planning permission.

"We shall now engage in detailed discussions with our development partners,
KBC and Tesco, to assess what options are open to us.

"It is important to stress that this decision does not spell the end of the
Destination Kirkby project - but it will, self-evidently, precipitate a period of
reflection, assessment and re-evaluation." We will do all we can to keep the
scheme alive and make sure the future of Kirkby is not put at risk

Councillor Ron Round

The leader of Knowsley Council, Councillor Ron Round, added: "We are extremely
disappointed as a public inquiry will delay the development.

"Indeed this delay, in the current economic climate, places the entire project in
jeopardy.

"From all of the consultation we have carried out, we believe that the majority of
local residents are in favour of transforming Kirkby.

"We have searched long and hard for years to attract the right investor to Kirkby
and this scheme cannot be equalled.

"We will do all we can to keep the scheme alive and make sure the future of
Kirkby is not put at risk."

Although season ticket holders narrowly voted in favour of the move, the decision
to move out of Liverpool has split fans' opinion.

Residents of Kirkby have also expressed opposition to the development, claiming
it is simply "too big" for the area.

The public inquiry is expected to be held within the next 12 months.


-BBC News





Bit of a downer for them........they should take anfield when 'pile move
out...imagine having you fiercest rivals literally 100 - 200 yards across the road! :p
 

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I have a soft spot for Everton. Partly because I'm a big admirer of Moyes & what's he's done at Goodison, bringing in Cahill, Arteta, Yakubu, Jagielka, Lescott.

They are all great players but what I love most about Everton is that the "smaller" club actually has more history than Liverpool. :D
 
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