LIVERPOOL’S council leader today revealed the three sites he can offer Everton FC for a new stadium.
Cllr Warren Bradley broke his silence over the identity of the locations he believes are good enough to keep the Blues inside the city boundaries.
* Liver industrial estate, off Long Lane, Fazakerley
* The “loop” off Scotland Road
* The Axis site, off Speke Road, Speke
Everton do not believe any are a realistic option at the moment because none have a commercial package in place to rival the Tesco deal in Kirkby.
But opponents to the Kirkby move insist the Scotland Road site is viable, due to serious interest from cash and carry firm Bestway, which has asked a stadium developer to draw up a proposal.
Cllr Bradley also believes Everton could still redevelop Goodison Park, despite the club’s insistence earlier this week that it is neither financially nor practically possible.
The £150m, 50,000-seater Kirkby stadium would be built on open land off Valley Road, if Everton decide to go ahead with a plan with Knowsley council and Tesco.
But Cllr Bradley, an Everton season-ticket holder, revealed he has had 17 meetings since November last year with the club, Tesco, the Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) campaign group and other interested parties.
He said: “I have identified sites which I firmly believe could be used to facilitate the new Everton. These sites are big enough for a commercial partner and we have spoken to major firms which are interested in them.
“We have done a lot of work, and now it is up to Everton. We know we can deliver on them, particularly the loop site, which could be done very quickly. We were asked to find sites and we have gone a step further than we ever thought we would by identifying commercial partners as well.”
The loop is currently home to Bestway’s cash-and-carry outlet. The firm today confirmed its interest in joining a deal with the Blues.
Malcolm Carter, head of property, said: “We were recently presented with an opportunity to combine, allowing Everton to remain within Liverpool and come home to Everton, while acting as a significant catalyst for the area’s regeneration.
“This would involve developing a new stadium and associated commercial enterprises, both within our existing location and on neighbouring sites.
“Bestway already has a design team in place and is in discussions with a stadium contractor about working up proposals which, from an initial assessment, are very feasible.
“We know a football stadium will fit into our site and could work in this location. It would be the blue heart of the city.”
Everton chief executive Keith Wyness today said he was well aware of the Liverpool sites – but insisted “deliverability is the key”.
He said: “All along, that was the test that any site in the city has failed to meet.
“The commercial package we need from a development has never been produced.
“We have been in discussions about those sites with the council for some time, and there has never been the ability to put together a definitive package that we could rely on.”
But opposition leader Joe Anderson said: “We have to discuss with the club and others how we can put together a package to persuade Everton that staying in the city is good for them.”