Anfield redevelopment could take three more years
Tue 12th Jul 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities
Liverpool FC’s plans to redevelop Anfield could take up to another three years according to a local councillor.
Joe Anderson, Liverpool City Council leader has insisted the local authority is not to blame for Liverpool FC’s problems redeveloping Anfield warning it could take three years to clear all the hurdles required to stay in its present ground.
Cllr Anderson’s comments followed a statement from Liverpool FC chief executive Ian Ayre on Sunday, saying that redevelopment of Anfield was looking increasingly unlikely, due to land/property acquisition, environmental and statutory barriers.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Anderson said that the extra height of extended stands blocking daylight to nearby homes is a key consideration.
“You can’t build something right next to someone’s house that blocks day light – whether Liverpool FC like it or not. That is something that exists,” he insisted.
“The original problems, before they decided to move to Stanley Park, are the same now because people have the right to light, and there are all kinds of issues like that.
“We have said that they have to make the decision. If they want to negotiate with people around the stadium and come to a deal with them that allows them to build higher to increase capacity [that is fine].
“From our point of view, when Ian Ayre talks about the statutory requirements, local people have the right to light.”
Liverpool would prefer to stay and redevelop Anfield but Cllr Anderson insisted: “There is a cost in re-developing Anfield, they may have to wait three years before they can start.”
However, Liverpool FC also face paying £8.2m of European Objective 1 grant funding that has already been spent renovating Stanley Park in preparation for the building of a new stadium.
Cllr Anderson said: “If Liverpool City Council has to pay the money back, Liverpool Football Club will have to pay the money back.
“Liverpool signed up to that, albeit under different owners.”
Liverpool still have the option to take up a 999-year lease on Stanley Park which the council said they would extend the decision deadline for the club as it weighs up its options.
“If they can show me the progress that has been made, I don’t see us refusing point blank.
“The bottom line is that Ian Ayre represents Liverpool FC, but I represent the city and the residents of Anfield.
Responding to the Cllr Anderson’s comments, Ian Ayre said: “Just like any other business, we can only proceed as and when we are clear on all elements and we will not be forced to make a decision that is not in the best long-term interests of our club and we will not make any promises to our fans that we cannot keep.
“It’s disappointing that, based on where we are at the moment, we seem to be unable to press on with the more viable economic option of a refurbishment, but we remain committed to finding the best possible long-term solution.
“We already have a very healthy dialogue in place with several leading brands regarding naming rights for a new stadium, but like every major deal we have ever done, that just takes time to explore in full.
“Our challenge now is to try to find a way to bring all of those elements together in a solution that is in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club and its fans.”
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