I am being that told the Everton Football Club have signed a deal with the Peel Group, for a riverside site for a new stadium. The reported cost is £20 million. If this is true, then it goes a long way to explain the roadworks on Great Howard street, and the increasingly curious project to re-order traffic along the Strand. I am not suggesting that in both instances of traffic difficulties, there is no need for the council to effect some positive changes; but it speaks volumes about the priorities of the council, and the all-pervading influence of the Peel group.
Obviously, this would, if true, be a deal between two private businesses – EFC and the Peel Group – but the impact would be enormous. The concentration of Council resources to make this viable would be extensive, meaning a lower priority at least, for other demands for council intervention. The effect on traffic would be only one immediate outcome. For those who are concerned about current plans and their effect on, say, Liverpool Arena, an even bigger attraction north of the Pier Head will blow their minds.
Needless to say, the council – or, rather, the mayor – would try to take some credit for such a move, and possibly would succeed with some Everton fans (perhaps not so readily with miffed LFC supporters!). I, as a lifelong Everton supporter, would not be so sanguine. Such a new stadium would need to be paid for, and it is always fans that ultimately carry such costs. Besides, I would want to know what the wider ramifications for the city and its residents would be. What effect would it have on the many small businesses in the north docks area? Would existing jobs there – and there are many – be affected?
Most intriguingly, what impact would such a sale have on the much-hyped Liverpool Waters proposals of Peel? Their earlier fanfare for Wirral Waters collapsed with their “withdrawal” from an alleged partnership with a phony Chinese outfit. The site remains by-and- large an industrial wasteland. Will the grandiose claims projected for Liverpool Waters go the same way? I know they spoke nonsense about having a fifty year plan; but in fifty years, most people reading this will be dead and gone. I reckon that the bulk of the Liverpool Waters proposals will precede us.