Public Inquiry into application for: mixed-use development including a new football stadium, retail, residential and

leisure uses on land in Kirkby

Summary Proof of Evidence of Christopher Potts Savills (L&P) Ltd

Reference: TEV/S/9 Planning Inspectorate Reference: APP/V4305/V/08/1203375

October 2008



I, Christopher Potts, have been an advisor to Everton Football Club since 2001. In that time I
have worked closely with the Club’s Board and Senior Management in connection with new stadium opportunities. In this capacity I have represented the Club at meetings and have provided the Club with advice on potential sites which have been brought to their attention and been closely involved in discussions. My evidence provides an overview of the Club’s search for a new stadium over the last 10 years or so.



The Club have concluded for over 10 years, following various stadium studies, that redeveloping Goodison Park is not a viable option. There is, therefore, a pressing need to relocate to a modern, high quality stadium in order to secure its future competiveness.



Requirements Everton Football Club require a new modern stadium with facilities designed to meet the relevant Green Guide recommendations an overall image commensurate the Club’s standing and capable of attracting the best players in the game. With regard to stadium specifics, the Club’s requirements include:

50,000 seats, total capacity – (capable of being expanded at a later date up to 60,000 for future proofing) 2,000-3,000 hospitality executive seats 60 or so hospitality boxes (8-10 person) High quality facilities for players and team staff Unimpeded views from all seating positions Compliance with the latest building / accessibility regulations Potential to comply with Champions League requirements Comprehensive match day travel plan Individual iconography particular to Everton Football Club

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With regard to stadium specifics, the Club’s requirements in terms of capacity (including future-proofing expansion), hospitality and quality of facilities are not an excessive wish list, but the reasonable requirements of one of the most successful teams in history, regularly featuring in the top half of the Premier League and competing in European competitions. Financial Subsidy The Club is not able to fund a new stadium development in its entirety. As a result, cross funding of a new stadium project through a subsidy is essential to the viability of delivering a new stadium for the Club. The full extent of the cross subsidy required is dependant upon the cost of the proposed stadium and the land costs. Assessment Criteria I have assessed potential locations against the criteria of: • • • • • Availability Suitability Accessibility Viability Deliverability

Developing a major Sports Stadium is extremely complicated, expensive and high profile. No club would pursue an opportunity without having considered in detail the prospects for addressing the above criteria and how to de-risk the project. 4.0 SITE SEARCH There does not appear to have been a single defining moment when the Board decided to pursue an alternative location, but more the result of combined circumstances relating to the acknowledged shortcomings of Goodison Park, changes taking place at other football clubs and opportunities being put to Everton FC. King’s Dock, Liverpool Waterfront


Everton Football Club was selected in July 2001 as part of a consortium to develop a major mixed use scheme at King’s Dock in Liverpool. This selection was made by Liverpool Vision in partnership with Liverpool City Council, the North West Development Agency and English Partnerships. The King’s Dock proposal included a 55,000 capacity multi-purpose arena/stadium, leisure, residential and offices. The scheme included a new home for Everton Football Club within a state-of-the-art building which would be capable of hosting major arena events (concerts, theatre, exhibitions, conferences) as well as the Club’s first team fixtures. The Club played a full and pro-active part alongside the other promoters/partners in progressing this opportunity. Continued project analysis and due diligence was undertaken as the scheme evolved and by Spring 2003, it was agreed by the partners that the complexity, costs and timescales meant it was necessary to abandon the proposal (without a planning application having been made), which brought to an end the Club’s involvement in the site. Discussions with Other Parties The Club’s requirement for a new stadium did not change following King’s Dock, but clearly the ability to fund the capital investment, and secure appropriate subsidising development was further reinforced as a necessity. a) Switch Island, M57 In 2005 Everton Football Club became associated with an emerging proposal at Switch Island, which is land to the south-east of the intersection between the M57 and M58. The landowner approached the Club with a masterplan, financial appraisal and a programme for the delivery of the scheme. Progress on this opportunity was curtailed when Sefton MBC’s Cabinet resolved to oppose the scheme even though no application had been submitted. b) Liverpool City Council Informal discussions continued with the City Council during through 2003 to 2005 with the Club reiterating their need for a new stadium for the Club and the requirement for some cross funding from higher value development. It is perhaps no surprise that Liverpool City Council were unable to suggest and promote any potential sites for the Club, as this was the period following which Liverpool Football Club had undertaken a detailed analysis of relocation sites and agreed with the City Council that there were no satisfactory options available, except Stanley Park.


c) The Loop, Scotland Rd, Liverpool In early summer 2007, following the Club’s announcement of the ballot of supporters in connection with the proposed move to Kirkby, the Leader of the City Council indicated that a new opportunity had arisen on a site known as ‘The Loop’ on Scotland Road (also known as ‘Bestway’ and ‘The Tunnel Trumpet’) following dialogue with the landowner. In the light of the publicity surrounding The Loop site and its impact upon the ballot process I initially advised the Club that the proposal appeared to be undeliverable as: Availability - concerns regarding the availability of sufficient land to accommodate a stadium and associated subsidising development. Suitability – concern that the main site is too small for a 50-60,000 capacity stadium with required concourse. Accessibility – concern that access would be very difficult and expensive to resolve given the ‘island’ nature of the site and the requirement for bridging structures. Viability - the obvious high infrastructure and stadium capital cost (no figures provided by promoters) would mean that the proposal could not be viable by the Club without substantial subsidy from other unspecified development. Deliverability – the lack of basic information on the scheme, its costings, infrastructure acquisition etc… meant it could not be considered as deliverable. The site was also considered by Liverpool FC in their site assessment in summer 2007, who rejected it. Their rationale was accepted by the City Council in their report and decision on LFC’s application in November 2007. d) Keep Everton in our City (KEIOC) In my capacity advising the Club I have not received any submissions from KEIOC containing any information. I have provided comments on those sites which KEIOC have mentioned in public. I have recently met with KEIOC representatives in September 2008 and have received no information or evidence to provide any depth to their comments on alternative sites. 4.2 Comprehensive Site Assessment

DPP produced a comprehensive Alternative Site Assessment Report in November 2007, which accompanied the planning application. The Report contains a critique of 35 locations.


Whilst some critics suggest that the Club have not adopted a pro-active approach to engagement on sites, it is clear that the comprehensive overview produced by DPP on a wide geographic basis has in fact highlighted the thoroughness of the approach undertaken. 4.3 Concurrent Search by Liverpool Football Club

Uniquely, during the last 5-10 years Everton Football Club and Liverpool Football Club (LFC) have reviewed their future stadia requirements. The City Council assessed LFC’s site assessment documentation prior to the planning committees in July 2004, April 2006, November 2007 and June 2008, and have fully accepted that no alternative sites could be identified for a stadium development. Indeed, the latter 2 committees included confirmation that sites suggested to Everton FC by opponents to Kirkby were also not acceptable.


Why Kirkby was Chosen

From the initial consideration of the draft masterplan, appraisal and programme information from Tesco in Spring 2006 it was clear the scheme had considerable merit. Tesco and their advisors provided extensive supporting information so I was able to recommend the Club continue negotiations. The confidence of the Club to progress the Kirkby opportunity was reinforced during the due diligence and planning application periods (including the outcome of the ballot). In the light of the assessment criteria I would comment: a) Availability Whilst there are a number of ownerships involved, the extent of land controlled by Knowsley Council and the land assembly being undertaken by Tesco as lead developer is significant (including major investment in the existing town centre to ensure a long-term holistic approach). b) Suitability The site area, its topography, proximity to the town centre, and integration within the regeneration scheme, creates an ideal location to develop a new stadium alongside high value retail development which can provide a financial subsidy.


c) Accessibility Kirkby town centre is accessible by a range of transport modes as it enjoys excellent motorway access, good highway infrastructure, a rail station and a bus station. d) Viability The Kirkby scheme has major financial advantages through the subsidy created by the high value commercial development (which is a well established mechanism) and that Tesco will contract to procure the stadium construction. e) Deliverability During 2007 the Club worked very closely with Tesco and their professional team in producing a substantial evidence-based suite of supporting documents. This culminated in the submission of the planning application. In my opinion the regeneration case is overwhelming and the combination of a leading Premier League Club and the UK’s largest retailer will create an instant step change in the transformation of the town. Upon the grant of planning permission a start on site could be achieved in the near future and allow the Club to be in their new stadium for the beginning of the 2011/12 season. The Kirkby scheme is the most deliverable opportunity the Club have considered in their 10 year search for a new stadium, it meets the Club’s requirements, helps to fulfil their ambition and is affordable. The Club consider that Kirkby represents the only option to relocate.


Ground Sharing

The issue of ground sharing with Liverpool FC is both an emotive and commercial issue for the Club. It has been well documented publicly that neither the Club nor Liverpool FC see this as a serious proposition and supporters from both clubs have made clear their opposition to any proposal for ground sharing.




Everton Football Club have been seeking a new stadium opportunity for over 10 years. The King’s Dock proposal was pursued for almost two years in close collaboration with private and public sector partners. A combination of the complexity of the scheme and the financing led to the King’s Dock proposal being set aside. The Club have worked with Liverpool City Council and other organisations to try and identify sites, which can also deliver a subsidy generating development. I have worked closely with Tesco and their consultant team and have discussed the issues regularly with Knowsley Council, and as a result have become increasingly convinced that the key considerations of availability, suitability, accessibility, viability and deliverability are achieved at this site. Since the Club committed to the Kirkby development, various parties have put forward alternative sites, none of which have contained any substance, all appear to be of little merit and when measured against the merits of Kirkby, simply do not stand up to comparison. The thoroughness of the Club’s site search has been further reinforced by the concurrent activities of Liverpool Football Club who on numerous occasions have undertaken various site studies during the last five or so years. Liverpool City Council have consistently accepted that no alternative to Stanley Park could be identified. In conclusion, based on my knowledge of the Club’s requirements, and a consideration of alternative sites it is my opinion that the Kirkby proposal is the only site which meets their criteria, is deliverable and can provide a modern quality stadium for Everton Football Club.