Hallmark Security League Premier Division club City of Liverpool FC have announced that they have entered into a period of exclusivity with Liverpool City Council in respect of a potential site for a community stadium.
This follows an exhaustive near three-year process, the start of which preceded the actual formation of the club by virtually a year.
The club will now have a period of six months during which time they will develop a comprehensive business case, including funding and planning, in order to enable the council to grant a long-term lease to the site.
The club has seriously engaged with four sites in this three-year period and for various reasons each has proved to have insurmountable obstacles.
Having explored the possibility of locating their community stadium at numerous existing sports and leisure and green field sites throughout the city and along the municipal borders, the focus changed to working with Liverpool City Council to look at potential regeneration sites.
This resulted in the drafting of a comprehensive list of regeneration sites of varying degrees of viability, from which two preferred options emerged.
Due to significant planning barriers posed to development at the site that was initially favoured by both the council and the club, attentions turned to “option two” – the former Fazakerley Playing Fields in Liverpool 10.
Initial investigations have led all parties to believe that Fazakerley Playing Fields is a realistic option for the club’s community stadium and the period of exclusivity provided by Liverpool City Council grants the club time to do the necessary preparatory work without the looming possibility of the site being sold to another party – as has happened previously with a privately-owned site.
Club director Gary Johansen said: “While the Board is pleased that we have taken a step forward, there are still some major hurdles for the club to overcome and a lot of hard work to be undertaken before the site can be assigned to COLFC and we see the fabled “spade in the ground”. Nevertheless, we are delighted that we have this opportunity to secure the long-term future of the club.
“It is our ambition to deliver a stadium that is genuinely unique to COLFC, with innovative and sustainable design features being developed that the Board believes will enthuse our members, supporters and the wider community, as well as clearly display the ambitions of the club to progress through the football pyramid and provide a community football stadium that the City, indeed the City Region, can be proud of.
“The club will undertake comprehensive consultation with our members and with the wider community as our plans for the site and the funding package required emerge in coming months.
“In the meantime, the Board wishes to place on record our thanks to Deputy Mayor Cllr Ann O’Byrne, Mark Kitts and Nick Flanagan at Liverpool City Council, and Dr Michael Birkett and his staff at our main club sponsors Regenda Homes, for their invaluable and ongoing assistance and support”.