Premier League: Everton can plan for new stadium to replace Goodison Park afer getting approval from Liverpool council
Everton can move forward with a plan to build a new stadium in a Liverpool park, after backing by Liverpool City Council.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said the stadium plan for Walton Hall Park would be a "catalyst" to spark regeneration in the nearby area.
A council spokesman said the decision to develop the park followed "an exhaustive search for suitable sites within the city".
He said no timetable for the building of the stadium was in place, but that after consulting with the local community, fan groups and project partners, a planning application "could be made within 12 months".
Green Party campaigner Martin Dobson said while it was good to keep the stadium within the city of Liverpool "there's plenty of brownfield sites in the city that could be used".
"Those should be used instead of green open space that's available for everyone," he said.
Everton's 41,000-capacity Goodison Park is one of the oldest football stadiums and has been the club's home since it opened in 1892.
The club's chief executive Robert Elstone told Everton's annual general meeting in April that any new ground would have a 50,000 capacity.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson said in a joint statement on the club's official website: "I am really pleased that we have identified this exciting opportunity for North Liverpool. We know that this is an area of the city that requires substantial investment and this project could bring this in a unique form."
"Everton's investment into this area would be the catalyst for a development which could make a real difference. We know from other regeneration schemes that opportunities like this can lead to significant economic and social benefits."
"This scheme would generate significant new job opportunities and also address important social needs such as health and education."We also see this as an opportunity to create an outdoor space with first-class leisure and recreational facilities that will really appeal to the local community. This is a starting point for something which could be a real game changer for this part of the city."
Club Chairman Bill Kenwright added: "On my journey to our home games, as I pass Walton Hall Park, I inevitably think that I am only a minute away from our beloved Goodison...for several years now, I've also thought, if only it was available for our new stadium, it ticks all the boxes."
"An opportunity to explore the possibility of securing the new home we've looked for, for so long, is hugely exciting to me, but to do that in a way that supports, transforms and sustains our local communities, in our Everton heartland, is such a wonderful, added bonus."
"It would fill me with great pride. It could be something very special for our city, the residents of North Liverpool and all Evertonians - a new home that goes beyond football and does what Everton does better than anyone else."
"Like all Evertonians, I love Goodison Park and have done since the day I first set foot in the Boy's Pen but the prospect of developing a new stadium, and a new and vibrant community, just down the road from us, is to be grasped and encouraged."
Everton prepare to play their first Europa League match at Goodision this Thursday, where they take on former German champions Wolfsburg.