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Third time lucky for Reds' stadium?


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Third time lucky for Reds' stadium?

Apr 25 2008 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo


LIVERPOOL FC’s third stadium plan is set to get the go-ahead next week.


City planners have recommended the £350m proposal for a 60,000-seater ground is approved by councillors..


However, progress on the stadium is likely to remain in doubt as long as the ownership stand-off continues.


Liverpool’s original building plan for Stanley Park was backed by the council as far back as 2004.


American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett ordered a massive redesign when they took over the club last year and their plan was approved last summer.


But it was shelved and redrawn a second time by Dallas-based architects HKS earlier this year when the tycoons decided it was too expensive.


Next month, councillors will have their say on a scheme showing a number of crucial changes, including:


The future capacity of New Anfield, after any expansion, has been reduced from 76,000 to 73,000.


The underground car park beneath the stadium has been halved in size.


A three-storey car park will be located under tennis courts and a games area in Stanley Park, shielded from Priory Road by a “green wall”.


The width, length and height of the stadium has been reduced by several metres.


The roof opening is smaller and designed differently to keep the crowd dry and help the pitch grow.


Plans for public viewing areas, a “skywalk” and roof terrace restaurant in the new Kop stand have been scrapped.


The redesign does not affect the restoration of the remainder of Stanley Park, which is underway and expected to finish in December.


A council report says: “The overall form of the stadium, with the Kop as the main generator of the building form will add to the city skyline, and create a positive landmark and a focus for further investment.


“The changes introduced in March do little to dilute the architectural quality of the proposed stadium.”


Planners said the scheme should be agreed if Liverpool agreed to meet certain conditions.


The club must make sure spectators leaving their cars in the stadium’s 970 parking spaces arrive an hour before kick-off and wait an hour after the final whistle to leave.


It must also pay for a yearly review of the residents-only parking zone around Anfield for five years after the ground opens – and fund any expansion of it.


Several community groups have objected to the plan, including Priory Area Residents Association (Para), Friends of Stanley Park and Stanley Park Preservation Society.

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This will be a moot point until DIC buy in - Hicks can't fund buying out Gillett - let alone exposing himself to funding a stadium on only a 50% share of ownership. The spade is as far away from the soil as ever.

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