The Scotland Road site is also known as 'The Loop', 'Bestway Site' and 'The Tunnel Trumpet'. It is a large area of land currently occupied by Wholesalers Bestway in the Everton district near Liverpool's city centre . It is less than half a mile from the city centre, less than a mile and a half from Goodison Park and 700 yards from Saint Rupert's Tower, the tower depicted on the club crest.
Liverpool City Council, Bestway and HOK Sport have given their full support to this scheme, the council leader Warren Bradley publically stated his frustrations with the club's lack of communication by stating "The bridegroom and all his family are waiting for the bride – and the bride is Everton".
There is a report that was produced by world renowned architecture firm HOK and the design, engineering & management consultancy WSP Group, at the request of Bestway to investigate the feasibility of the site. It concluded that a stadium holding at least 55,000 fans is viable for the site and will fit into the available footprint with a "plinth" construction" over the Wallsey Tunnel required for additional pedestrian/emergency vehicle access (but not for bearing any of the stadium itself). The report itself does not contain any stadium designs or proposals as it is a technical report for the viability of the site; currently it is not available online although we have published it's conclusion here with permission from Bestway, the report remains the property of Bestway and as such is up to them as and when they wish release the report.
It is true that a stadium would cost more than a stadium in Kirkby or Goodison Park, the financial rewards are also much greater. A report has been carried out by financial experts Price Waterhouse Cooper and that indicates that a city centre stadium will bring in ten times as much income as a stadium in Kirkby can so there will be a greater long-term gain for Everton if they move to the city centre.
A city centre based 55,000 Arena could host many events such as conferences, concerts, exhibitions and most importantly football would interest a lot of enabling partners, as Keith Wyness said in February 2006, "developers come to us all the time".
Architect Trevor Skempton had this to say:
"I believe that the club should make contingency plans for an ultimate capacity of around 75,000, if they have any intention of competing at the highest level. The space and connections at the ’Loop’ site are comparable with those at the Millennium Stadium, and could be adapted to meet these objectives. Also, it has been shown that Goodison could be expanded incrementally to something approaching that figure, with transport arrangements shared with the New Anfield. However, to accommodate 75,000 in Kirkby would demand a vast new dedicated transport infrastructure that would surely rule the whole project out of the question." - 22/11/2007
You can view a map of the site on Google Maps.
The club's CEO Keith Wyness publically dismissed the site and suggested that the timing had to be more coincidental on more than one occasion:
“We have been in talks with Knowsley and Tesco for the best part of 18 months. And yet only now has this possibility been put forward as a possible alternative.”
and the infamous hitherto rabbit quote;
“Without wishing, in any way, to call into question the integrity and professionalism of those who have pulled the Scotland Road ‘rabbit’ out of a hitherto cunningly-concealed hat, we do find it curious that it is being portrayed as a genuine, realistic and deliverable scheme at the precise moment our supporters are being invited to participate in a ballot about our proposed relocation to Kirkby.”
The board even invited Chris Potts from Savills (a corporate estate agents) to the Annual General Meeting. He told shareholders that the loop was not viable. His words were:
"My conclusion was that the site was too small, inaccessible and inappropriate for any further development [..] but I have never received any information on the site, design infrastructure and costs"
In April 2008, Malcolm Carter of Bestway revealed that he was not happy with the treatment given to him and the Scotland Road alternative. He said:
"Realistically, I couldn't have done much more and I was just stone-walled for much of the time by Everton FC's Directors and to make things worse most all that was said publicly regarding the Bestway site by Everton FC or it's representatives was so inaccurate that so often it genuinely beggared belief and surprised me.”
This myth was created by the club to ridicule the Scotland Road option. An independent study by architects HOK who designed Emirates Stadium, Wembley, Dublin's pride and joy Croke Park and the Olympic 2012 stadium have said that the land is large enough to accomodate a 55,000 all seater.
The club have used the official website on more than occassion to openly ridicule the Scotland Road option:
August 2007 - http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/loopo-feasibility-analysis.html - Steer Davies Gleave, the company responsible the Kirkby and Emirates Stadium traffic management.
December 2007 - http://www.evertonfc.com/news/archive/loop-site-not-viable.html - Savills, corporate estate agents. When asked if he had seen plans for the project, he stated he had not.
The club even released their own image displaying the Kirkby Project (not to scale) on the Scotland Road site.
Grosvenor will only oppose the plans if it may take business away from their Paradise Street and Liverpool One projects. The initial plans are thought to include residential and light industrial partners so Grosvenor are thought to be very supportive of the idea.
The club's planning application for a stadium in Kirkby indicates that the Liverpool City Council discounted the site. Whilst we can not say that the application is deliberately misleading, we believe that the comment is not factual and Liverpool City Council are infact very keen for Everton to have a city centre stadium.
Whilst a stadium project at the Loop site would require a plinth to bridge the Wallasey Tunnel roads it is not a complicated nor expensive piece of engineering work, nor would it be the first instance of such construction work being undertaken on a stadium site. Indeed, the Kirkby stadium proposal itself features a plinth style platform and other existing stadia have even been built successfully over entire roads such as Estadio Vicente Calderon and Old Trafford. Another HOK project Croke Park has built one of it's stands over a railway line.
Though on site parking would be limited there is still the option of supporters parking around Goodison Park and walking down to the Scotland Road site in addition to the car parks already available in the city centre. There also exists the possibility of a park and ride facility being introduced for supporters to use at Aintree for example. Also it should be taken into account that the Scotland Road site is only a short distance from Lime Street railway station and will also be well served by local taxis and existing bus services to Scotland Road. It is also worth noting that Merseyrail's proposed scheme for expanding it's services and stations would see the introduction of a station on Scotland Road itself, making the Scotland Road site potentially one of the very best served for transport in the country.