The stand will take Anfield’s capacity to 61,000 and could be completed in time for the 2022-23 season
Liverpool hope to begin work on their new Anfield Road stand before the end of 2020.
The Reds will begin the second stage of their public consultation process today, having been encouraged by the initial feedback from local residents, businesses and supporters.
Liverpool announced in August that they had scrapped initial plans for an upgrading of the Anfield Road End. Outline planning permission for the addition of around 4,000 extra seats, which was first applied for in 2014, was allowed to lapse with club owners, Fenway Sports Group, believing the design to be insufficient.
In November the club revealed the first images of a new £60million redevelopment of the Anfield Road end, which would add around 7,000 new seats and take Anfield’s overall capacity to 61,000.
More than 5,000 leaflets were distributed across the local community, with neighbouring residents and businesses encouraged to give their feedback at a series of consultation events.
Around 800 responses were received, and the club say that the general feedback was “very positive”, with 93 per cent supportive of the plans.
Now Liverpool aim to press on with their plans, with stage two public consultation running until the end of February. After that, the club hope to submit an official planning application, and have tentatively drawn up a timeframe which would see construction work on the new stand begin by the end of the year, and be completed in time for the 2022-23 season.
“There are still some really big steps to get through,” said Andy Hughes, Liverpool’s chief commercial officer. “Planning is a really big hurdle for us and we’ll be working really heavily on that through the next four, five, six months.
“And ultimately, the finances need to make sense in terms of the build cost when we finally understand that and the schedule.
“I think it’s a bit early to say it’s definitely summer 2022 but, assuming everything goes to plan and there are no major hurdles on the way, then that is our target date.”
Liverpool have today revealed a number of new CGI images which show how the proposed redevelopment would look.
They have, following local feedback, opted to shelve their initial plan to close a section of Anfield Road entirely, instead seeking to re-route the road around the new stand. The road would be closed during construction and on matchdays, but would otherwise allow access for residents and businesses.
The proposed new road would not, the club stresses, impinge on Stanley Park, which is located to the north of the Anfield Road stand, though it would mean that the current Anfield Road fanzone will need to be relocated.
“We knew the road closure was an issue for a small number of local residents,” Hughes said. “It’s something that had been discussed for a long period of time. But we actually hadn’t found technical solutions for the road, which as we were going through the design process we knew was a critical issue.
“We knew we needed to do some more work and I’m pleased to say that, now we’ve gone into some of the detail, we’ve found a good solution.”
The proposed new stand would, Liverpool say, provide 5,200 new general admission seats, with a further 1,800 seats covered as part of a lounge/sports bar-style hospitality feature.
There will be minimal disruption to the current Anfield Road stand during construction, with the new top-tier structure to be built at the rear, as was the case with the Main Stand, which opened in 2016.
“The whole team have gained a huge amount of experience working on the Main Stand,” said Hughes.
“A lot of the advisors we’re using, and our internal team, all worked on the Main Stand project. I’m hoping this will be a little simpler but yes it does help.”
Hughes would not be drawn on the prospect of a potential naming-rights partner for the new stand, stating only that it was “an option” for the future.
Liverpool are expected to announce record revenue when their financial accounts for last season are published later this month and, unlike with the Main Stand which was paid for through a loan direct from FSG, will use the club’s existing credit facility to pay for the new Anfield Road stand.
Hughes also addressed questions related to a potential new train station, which some local campaigners have suggested would help alleviate traffic problems in and around the stadium. Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram is among those who have supported such an idea.
Hughes said: “A train station in the area is important for the area and obviously the club supports that and it would be helpful. But fundamentally I don’t think it solves the matchday transport issue, and we believe that can be done through public transport and coaches.
“We are re-looking at that in detail with the transport authorities, all the agencies involved, and we’re in the process of coming up with a revised transport strategy.”