Council Leader Proposes Delivery of Fans Initiative
Liverpool City Council leader, Joe Anderson, potential Labour candidate for City Mayor of Liverpool, a position which will attract millions of pounds of Government funding, explains to the Guardian why he’s tackling the delivery of The Football Quarter head on.
Regeneration in practice: Liverpool to create football quarter
by Joe Anderson
The Council leader explains his goals for the supporter-led sports regeneration scheme, as he tackles the challenges head-on.
The idea of a football quarter – using the home of a revered sports club to spearhead regeneration in the area around its stadium – is not new. What is unique about our proposals for Liverpool's own quarter is that they are designed to regenerate an area that boasts not one international stadium, but two. It has the potential to spark more local change than ever before.
The credit for this plan must go to the fans themselves, whose determination and drive has brought the project this far. Under the collective All Together Now, supporters groups from each side of that famous Liverpudlian footballing divide have put aside their rivalries to push for progress that can't wait – both in terms of the futures of their clubs, and what those clubs can do for the community in which they are based.
Despite the world famous teams on the doorstep, the Anfield area has extremely high levels of deprivation, with nearly 90% of residents living in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in the country.
Unemployment, a lack of available housing, and the sudden stalling of the government pathfinder regeneration scheme all blight the area. The changes a football quarter could make to the community, in terms of investment and regeneration, could transform the area past all recognition. The question of making the Anfield and Goodison stadia fit for purpose in the 21st century poses a problem yet to be solved.
When All Together Now (comprised of members of the Keeping Everton in Our City and Spirit of Shankly supporters' groups) asked for council support for a football quarter project, it was a huge opportunity to get behind. There's no doubt it could provide an economic boost to the city in an area that needs it most, create new jobs, become a tourist attraction and provide daily facilities for local residents.
All Together Now has put together a prospectus that puts forward a range of ideas for how the football quarter will take shape. These include: modernising the stadia; improving transport links; bringing in educational facilities; opening a football museum; creating public event area; community sporting facilities and encouraging commercial opportunities such as hotels, bars and restaurants.This isn't something that will happen overnight. Raising finances in a recession is no easy task, but the benefits for Liverpool are potentially huge. We are an ambitious city. We have some massive regeneration projects in the pipeline, and the football quarter could be yet another part of the Liverpool of tomorrow.