As expected, the second public consultation provided overwhelming support for the limited designs and images so far released by Everton Football Club with regards to Bramley-Moore and the proposed Goodison Park redevelopment.
An extensive public consultation exercise including over 43,000 respondents at the second stage showed 98% support for Bramley-Moore, and 92% for the redevelopment of Goodison Park.
What have we learned from this exercise and release from the club today?
Firstly, confirmation that the seating capacity of Bramley-Moore will be 52,000. Any idea that the club may have responded to the first consultation and no doubt, many of the second too, for calls for an increased capacity have fallen on deaf ears. Any increase above 52,000 will only be a result of changed capacity brought about by increased spectator densities in “safe standing areas” or by a physical extension of the stadium itself. Given that no-one, not even the most ardent supporter of safe standing expects spectator density ratios greater than 1:1 until several seasons of data, observation and testing is completed, and the natural gap between completion of the stadium and future expansion we are destined to have a smaller than was expected capacity for many years to come.
Use of qualitative data
I have commented previously on the use of the qualitative data (the ideas and comments made in free-form) from both “consultations”. The club assures us that “alongside the quantitative data, the consultation also yielded a large volume of qualitative commentary, observations and ideas. Every comment has been read and is being used to help shape the detailed planning application for the stadium and the outline planning application for the community-led legacy at Goodison Park”
To date, the club has provided no details or even outlines, nor sought views in relation to ticket pricing policies, range of seating options, season ticket numbers nor internal and external facilities at the stadium. Much of the qualitative data provided by respondents to both consultations would have included such topics.
Denise Barrett Baxendale is quoted as follows “The opinions, ideas and observations we’ve received will be used by the project team to inform the next steps of the project – as well as being included as part of our final planning applications.”
I would hope that the club now shares which ideas are being considered in the run up to the submission of a detailed planning application for Bramley-Moore and the outline permission for Goodison’s future redevelopment.
Broad support from local authority leaders and recognition of local public support
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson is quoted as follows, “Everton has carried out a brilliant public consultation to ensure everyone has had the opportunity to have their say on their proposals. Their plans for Bramley-Moore Dock and Goodison Park, alongside our regeneration ideas for Ten Streets and Walton, have the potential to deliver a huge long-lasting economic and cultural boost for our communities in North Liverpool and across the entire city by creating new opportunities, jobs and visitor appeal.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region “It is clear to see the people of the Liverpool City Region are firmly supporting Everton’s plans for a new stadium and a legacy development at Goodison Park.”
CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale said: “This is a really important milestone and having the level of support we have from the Liverpool City Region public means we can submit for planning before the end of this year with confidence.”
We wait now to see if the club meets its own deadline.