Liverpool submit plans to develop Anfield to 59,000
Liverpool have formally applied for planning permission to redevelop Anfield and increase the ground's capacity to almost 59,000.
After two decades of wrestling with whether to move to a new stadium in the city or expand their existing home, Liverpool are confident that their proposal has the backing of fans, as well as residents and businesses, which will help in their attempt to gain planning permission.
The club have also appointed Tom Doyle, an experienced project director who worked on the London 2012 Olympic programme and more recently the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, to oversee the project if the proposals are given the green light.
In a two-stage redevelopment, the capacity of a new Main Stand would rise by 8,500 taking it to nearly 21,000 and the overall capacity would increase to 54,000.
The outline proposals for the Anfield Road Stand provide for an increase in its capacity of about 4,800 seats, taking the total to 58,500, which would make Anfield the third largest club stadium in the country behind Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium.
"When we set out on the journey to explore the feasibility of expanding the stadium, we said the process would be determined by certainty," Ian Ayre, the Liverpool managing director, said. "Certainty that we have the support from local residents and businesses for our proposed plans, that we can acquire the land required and that we can navigate the planning landscape.
"Over the past 18 months and as part of this approach, we have worked closely with the community, residents, Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Group and we are delighted to be able to bring forward a planning application at this stage.
"A lot of good work has been done and we still have more work to achieve certainty."
If the planning application is passed, Liverpool hope to start construction early next year with the work completed for the 2016-17 season.
Meanwhile, Liverpool's attempt to sign Emre Can appears to be edging closer after Bayer Leverkusen claimed that they had received a formal offer in writing for the midfielder.
Can has a £9.75m release clause effective for foreign clubs and it is reported that the buy-back option Bayern Munich inserted into the deal which took him to Leverkusen for £4.4m last summer is no longer valid.
(©The Daily Telegraph, London)