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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Everton lose appeal against planning decision

Planning InspectoratePlanning Inspector Karen Ridge has dismissed Everton's appeal against Liverpool City Council's decision in June 2008 to refuse planning permission for 74 dwellings.

In a blow to Everton's proposed relocation to Kirkby, £8m of income from this proposed development had been earmarked for the Kirkby stadium scheme, an indignant source close to the club, claimed that certain individuals and Liverpool Council were intent on damaging the club and went on to explain, “There's absolutely no doubt at all that this is Liverpool City Council's way of punishing the club for having the audacity to attempt to safeguard its long term future by way of moving to a new home in Kirkby outside the Liverpool city boundary. The club has constantly stated that in an ideal world it would definitely prefer to remain inside Liverpool but sadly the city council has done nothing at all to facilitate that. There's no doubting at all that this was a political decision.”

Inspector Karen Ridge, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government stated in her decision:

“Having regard to the evidence I have heard and read, I consider that there are two main issues in this case, namely;

(i) the effect of the proposal on the residential amenity of surrounding residents having regard to increased traffic movements;


(ii) the acceptability of the proposed residential development having regard to: (a) loss of green space, (b) housing land supply matters and (c) its effect on the Housing Market Renewal Initiative (HMRI)

Inspector Ridge explained in her decision, “Whilst I have found in favour of the appellants on the first issue, my conclusion in relation to the second issue remains by itself, a compelling reason to dismiss the appeal.

A spokesperson for KEIOC explained “Clearly this is a blow to Everton's hopes of generating £7.8m from the development of Bellefield. In our opinion the club now has an urgent need to seriously look at the source and quality of the advice they are receiving. Petulant claims surrounding people and the council wanting to damage the club are bordering on paranoia, as is the claim that the decision is political when clearly Hazel Blears appointed the inspector. This latest failure, coupled with the call in, should send shudders down the spines of the Goodison hierarchy; reality is being completely ignored, as is the advice from Warren Bradley that the club should work with the council. It's a sad day when even KEIOC know the level of development that would ensure planning consent when the clubs advisors are recommending a further application with an increased level of housing.

It should never be forgotten that when you point the finger of suspicion you're actually pointing three fingers at yourself.

You can read the planning inspectors decision in full here.

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