Feb 122015

EVERTON Football Club’s new ground should be built on a vacant site in Croxteth according to Liverpool’s Green Party leader.

A plan to be put to Liverpool City Council on Thursday proposes the Stonebridge Cross, currently earmarked for a giant Amazon warehouse, as a new home for the club following concerns that Walton Hall Park could be “sacrificed” in favour of a new Blues stadium.

Campaigners have said they will fight against plans to develop Walton Hall Park into Everton FC’s new ground, and the Friends of Walton Hall Park have strongly opposed the development, which would see Everton get a 50,000-seater stadium plus 1,000 new homes and 30,000 square metres of leisure, retail and restaurant space.

However, the council says the development will bring in much-needed revenue while providing a suitable home for the football club’s future.

A study commissioned by Everton FC, Liverpool Mutual Homes and Liverpool Council claimed the park is “underused” compared to other city parks.

Liverpool Green Party said it does not agree with building on public parks and party leader Cllr John Coyne now proposes Stonebridge Cross, which has been discussed as a possible site for a giant Amazon warehouse, “but currently contains a 50 acres site of vacant land”, be used instead for the club.

In the motion says: “Committee considers that if Everton Football Club needs to relocate then it should be helped to use land at the vacant Stonebridge Cross site rather than helped to encroach on a well loved city park such as Walton Hall Park.”

But Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Stonebridge Cross was one of a number of sites considered as part of a detailed and thorough city-wide search to relocate Everton Football Club, but it was discounted three years ago as there were other plans for it at the time.

“Since then we have brought forward significant regeneration plans for the site supported by the council and local community leaders which mean we can’t use this site even if we wanted to.

“We now have planning permission for a large distribution warehouse which has the potential for many hundreds of jobs, and have re-routed the River Alt, creating a new 20-acre park.

“The intention of any scheme at Walton Hall Park would be to have a smaller but better quality park with improved community facilities, together with all of the associated benefits such as jobs that a major regeneration scheme would bring.”

The motion will be discussed at the council’s Regeneration, Housing and Sustainability Select Committee when it meets at 4.30pm tonight.

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