We recently reported that Liverpool was getting closer to a decision on a new Anfield, and that the club seemed to edge toward an expansion of the current stadium in favour of a new one at Stanley Park. The Guardian now reports to have insight in plans of the club that indeed aim for an expansion of Anfield, but that also include for nearby houses to get demolished.
The Guardian bases its claim on information that was given at a recent meeting between local residents and Liverpool director Ian Ayre. During this meeting the residents were presented with various plans that revolved around an expansion of Anfield and demolition of various rows of houses.
Earlier it seemed that the discussions between the club and local residents would mainly focus on the “right of light” of the residents. As expanding Anfield means building upwards this would mean reduced light for nearby houses, for which the club was expected to provide financial compensation.
However, it now seems that the club is getting around this issue by demolishing the houses affected. To be able to expand Anfield’s Main Stand it will be necessary to demolish at least one row of housing at Lothair Road, though other variants call for the demolition of three rows of housing (two on Lothair Road and one on Alroy Road), which would open possibilities for further commercial development around the stadium.
The houses facing the corner of the Main Stand and Kop could also be marked for demolition and replaced by commercial development.
Liverpool’s plans are said to involve expanding the Main Stand and Anfield Road Stand with a second tier and further corporate facilities.
Anfield’s Main Stand (photo above) is the oldest stand of the ground, but despite being the Main Stand significantly smaller than the opposite Centenary Stand.
The Anfield Road Stand (photo below) is generally reserved for the away fans. It was the latest of the four stands to get redeveloped when a small second tier was added. Expanding the Anfield Road Stand will likely involve building (further) over Anfield Road, the street which runs directly behind the stand.
Of course, demolishing houses also cannot be done without offering compensation. The council’s assistant director for regeneration Mark Kitts told The Guardian that the city council is “very sympathetic” toward the homeowners, but also acknowledges that it may involve compulsory purchase orders which will obligate the residents to sell.
Kitts further indicated that the houses will be given an “open market valuation” and that homeowners furthermore receive a 10% “home-loss payment” and removal allowance. Still, many residents fear that this may not be enough for them to buy a new home. The Anfield area counts as one of the worst of Liverpool which may affect the valuation.
Local residents furthermore reacted negatively to the claims of Ayre that the club was having a “great dialogue with them”. They claim that they have only seen Ayre at one meeting and demand a more open attitude of the club and greater insight in its intentions.
For the moment the club seems to have left most of the communication and negotiating in the hands of the city council. Mark Kitts expects the club to make an announcement on the final decision by the end of June.
Photos: © Ben Sutherland