Liverpool's Anfield Stadium, Surrounding Neighborhood To Undergo $400M Regeneration
The plans for a £260M ($400M) regeneration of Premier League side Liverpool's Anfield stadium and the surrounding area "have been revealed," according to Marc Waddington of the LIVERPOOL ECHO. The "ambitious" scheme will "see hundreds of new homes, new business premises, a revamped stadium" for Liverpool. The plan also includes a village square, a hospitality academy hotel with 100 beds and a “pedestrian-friendly” avenue gateway cutting through Stanley Park right up to the football ground. Around "300 vacant or derelict houses will have to be demolished to make way for the plans, which will include the refurbishment of around 500 homes." Around 250 new homes will be added to the growing Parks housing estate development. Residents who have lived in uncertainty for more than a decade "have been given their first glimpse of the plans, which are being spearheaded by the council, the Reds and housing association Your Housing." The project should take "around five years to complete." Liverpool's plans will account for up to £150M ($230M) of the price tag for the project. Liverpool will remain at Anfield and "expand the stadium on its current footprint." The rest of the investment will go on new roads and infrastructure, renovated housing and newly built homes (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 6/24). The BBC reported Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said that "the regeneration would help an area of the city which had 'been in the doldrums for a long time.'" The area has been the subject of proposed regeneration in the past and Anderson said that "the time residents had had to wait for plans to come to fruition represented a 'shameful period for the city.'" Anderson: "We've got to continue that work to make sure the area is regenerated in terms not just of infrastructure but of people as well, making sure it's vibrant again and that people want to live here" (BBC, 6/24).
COUNCIL PAVES WAY: In London, Ian Herbert reported Liverpool City Council revealed that it has left the club with no excuse for further delays, having now bought up all but eight of the 30 privately-owned houses needed to undertake a wholesale demolition and clear the way for the enlarged stadium which the club has said "is its preferred way of expanding capacity." The purchase "would pave the way for Liverpool to table plans for an expanded 60,000-capacity Anfield early next year -- possibly by February." The expansion, which would include the development of the Main Stand and Anfield Road Stand, could conceivably be completed by '16 (INDEPENDENT, 6/25).
LANDLORD SEEKS COMPENSATION: Also in London, David Conn reported the owner of two houses wanted for demolition by Liverpool to expand their Anfield stadium has said that "he will not sell without significant compensation for years of blight in the area." Graham Jones, who together with a business partner owns No63 and 65 Rockfield Road, behind the main stand, "accuses the club of deliberately running the area down" from the mid-'90s by buying up houses in the neighboring streets and leaving them empty. Jones and his partner believe they have lost £500,000 in rent since the area declined and they have struggled to find tenants for the houses, "which they have now allowed to fall derelict." Jones: "Anfield was your average working-class area until Liverpool began buying houses and leaving them empty because they wanted the streets knocked down. It was dereliction by design, and the council allowed it" (GUARDIAN, 6/24). Also in London, Ian Herbert wrote "forgive the residents of Anfield if they were not hanging on every word" of Liverpool Managing Dir Ian Ayre Monday night "when he added his voice to those of the council leaders who are seeking community engagement with what, on paper, is an imaginative, ambitious plan to revive the most dismal district on the Premier League landscape." That is because "they have been here before, hearing about the ambitions of successive Liverpool executives and owners to take them along on a magic carpet ride to regeneration" (INDEPENDENT, 6/25).