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Liverpool council oppose Anfield re-development plans

Fri 8th Oct 2010 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Liverpool Football Club’s prospective new owners are on a collision course with the local council over plans to re-develop Anfield.

It’s understood New England Sports Ventures (NESV) which has a track-record in redeveloping a sports stadium with the Boston Red Sox – will consider upgrading Anfield if a £300m offer to gain control from Tom Hicks and George Gillett is accepted in the high court next week.

The decision however has not been welcomed by Liverpool County council who oppose the re-development of the old ground in favour of the proposed new stadium at Stanley Park.

"I would discourage them [NESV] from redeveloping Anfield and would encourage them to stick to the commitment that is already in place because I think that is the best solution for everyone – for the club and the city," councillor Joe Anderson told the Guardian.

Liverpool’s plan to build a new 60,000 capacity stadium at Stanley Park is the preferred choice of the Local Council and fans alike but has been on hold for sometime. However planning permission for the site is due to run out in April 2011 and the council are keen for the club to push through the development of the site.

Moving to Stanley Park would pave the way for the creation of the proposed Anfield Plaza on the site of the existing stadium. The Plaza which will contain shops, offices and restaurants, is intended to provide a public link to the new arena, but also an estimated 1,000 jobs in one of the most deprived local authority wards in Britain.

The issue of a new ground has been a thorn in the side of many attempts to find a buyer for the club. The anticipated cost of building a new stadium has made prospective owners think twice. Hicks and Gillett promised to "put a spade in the ground within 60 days" of their takeover in February 2007. But this never happened and with the Americans struggling to finance their loans on the club this promise was never fulfilled.

Liverpool Cllr Anderson, who welcomed the potential change of ownership as "a huge relief", said: "It has been suggested to me that NESV would be willing to meet at the earliest possible opportunity in the event of the takeover and I would urge them to do that to give me the opportunity to find out exactly what their intentions are, because the stadium is a key part of our plans to regenerate north Liverpool.

"Those plans haven't been held up entirely by the stadium situation and it would be wrong to say that they have. But they have had an impact and we just want to be in a position where we have a clear sign that the stadium issue will be resolved one way or another, something Hicks and Gillett failed to do despite the string of promises they made."

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