Lord Heseltine backs new stadium at Bramley-Moore – time to be assertive.

Much to the annoyance and disagreement of both Margaret Thatcher and her then Home Secretary, Willie Whitelaw, Michael Heseletine refused to stand by and allow the complete economic destruction of many of the great industrial cities of the North, particularly Liverpool & the Merseyside region in the 1980’s.

Michael-Heseltine-in-Toxt-007

source: Press Association

Whilst the Conservative Government favoured a policy of “managed decline” regarding Liverpool, Heseltine championed regional regeneration. Such was his impact, that 30 years later he was awarded Freedom of the City in 2012 by a Labour Council no less, with Joe Anderson saying “In the 1980s he came, he saw and he championed Liverpool’s cause. He has played an important role in the regeneration of Liverpool over the past three decades. He is a worthy recipient of the Freedom of the city.”

Regeneration impact of Bramley-Moore:

Today, he’s back talking about the regeneration impact of the Bramley-Moore stadium:

“The involvement of a major football club like Everton as the spearhead of this development is hugely beneficial to the renewal process. This is not just for the immediate environments around the stadium facility but is of regional importance to Liverpool because of the wider economic impact.

“There’s no question that taking declining areas, or even semi-derelict areas like Liverpool’s north docks, and giving them a new lease of life, meets every test of regeneration. First of all, it reverses the decline; secondly, it uses brownfield sites as opposed to green sites; and it tends to create jobs and investment where people actually are – as opposed to people having to travel long distances. It can simply change the whole atmosphere of a place.

“All that investment combines to create an atmosphere in which other businesses want to be involved and other growth projects emerge. Everton’s plans would change the whole tone and attitude towards the local area, so would serve many purposes beyond the primary sporting purpose.

“It should be remembered that this area of north Liverpool has been in decline for many, many decades so it strikes me that this is an opportunity which the city of Liverpool cannot afford to miss.” 

With the football club appearing at the MIPIM property conference in Cannes this week, it’s a reminder of the amount of effort the club believe necessary to secure the stadium.

Although no new details have been released and critically no images will be shown at Cannes, the club believe they remain on schedule for submitting a ‘detailed’ planning application for the stadium in the second half of the year.

Whilst I’m delighted we are making our presence known at prominent international property conferences, and gaining the support of still influential figures such as Lord Heseletine, this only adds to the frustration of the club’s continued refusal to share more details and particularly images with the fan base.

The stadium is nothing other than a huge positive for the City, and in particular the North of the City and gained almost unanimous public support in the first stage of the formal consultation. It’s my belief we should be both more assertive and consultative in the lead up to the planning application, selling its benefits but sharing its proposed design and features as widely as possible.