Everton take possession of site for new stadium as Liverpool loses heritage accolade

2021-07-27 01:05:43 GMT2021-07-27 09:05:43(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LONDON, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Just days after Liverpool was stripped of its World Heritage Site status, the city's Premier League side Everton took possession of the site for its new stadium.

Everton's plans for a 52,888-seat stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock was one of the reasons cited by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee for delisting Liverpool from its list of World Heritage Sites (WHS).

The committee took the decision last Wednesday at its ongoing meeting in Fuzhou, China.

Everton said work on its new riverside stadium will start within days. A spokesman told Xinhua on Monday that the club had taken possession of the site.

Liverpool won WHS status in 2004 because of its maritime history, but in 2012 it was placed on the "sites in danger" register over its plans to redevelop a large area of historic but derelict dockland along the banks of the River Mersey.

UNESCO said in a statement that the decision in Fuzhou was due to the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage Site.

The statement cited new additions to the city's waterfront, including Everton's proposed stadium, which is due to open for the 2024-25 season.

"The stadium has an iconic design that celebrates its surrounding environment. The design respects the local heritage and pays tribute to the dock history of the site," said the club in a statement. "Everton will be investing up to 55 million pounds (68 million U.S. dollars) to preserve, restore and celebrate the heritage assets at Bramley-Moore Dock."

The club insisted that the UNESCO World Heritage Status issue is a complex one and not just about a new Everton stadium but development across the entire northern docks. "It is something that has been debated for more than 13 years. As a club, Everton are keen to invest in and embrace heritage throughout the scheme and have been working with Historic England and all the relevant agencies to ensure this is being done in the most appropriate way throughout our proposals".

Everton dismissed plans to extend Goodison Park, its home in the city since 1892, saying that it cannot rebuild stands or a new stadium there "as it is landlocked and not economically viable. The old stadium is now creating a series of limitations for an ambitious football club".

Everton stadium development director Colin Chong issued a statement to fans on Monday night to mark the day Everton took formal possession of Bramley-Moore Dock.

"There has been a lot of talk about heritage this week, but we have been clear throughout our planning that respecting and enhancing heritage has always been one of our key principles," said Chong.

"Once construction is complete, we will be opening the inaccessible site up to the public for the first time in decades - allowing people to appreciate its heritage," he added. Enditem