Liverpool have received official planning permission for their proposed £60m ($85m) redevelopment of Anfield.
The move, which would see the famous stadium’s capacity increased to around 61,000, was given the green light on Tuesday after a meeting of Liverpool City Council’s planning committee.
The Reds will now look to begin work on the expansion, with an earliest completion date of summer 2023.
The proposed redevelopment, which was postponed for 12 months last April due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, will see around 7,000 new seats added to an upgraded Anfield Road stand.
The club released the first images of their proposal in November 2019 before undergoing two rounds of public consultation, from which they said feedback was “very positive.”
They scrapped their initial plan, which was to close a section of Anfield Road entirely, instead seeking to re-route the road around the new stand. The road would be closed during construction and on matchdays, but would otherwise allow access for residents and businesses.
The proposed new road would not, the club stresses, impinge on Stanley Park, which is located to the north of the Anfield Road stand, though it would mean that the current Anfield Road fanzone will need to be relocated.
There will be no reduction in capacity during the construction process, with the majority of work continuing to the rear of the Anfield Road stand during the regular season, before more intrusive work is carried out within the stadium during the close-season.
As part of the planning permission, Liverpool will also be allowed to host up to six non-sporting events a year at Anfield over the next five years. The club have also advised that other sporting events, such as American football, rugby league and Gaelic football, could be held at the ground.
There was opposition to the plans, with Tom Crone, leader of the Liverpool Green Party, and Liberal Party leader Steve Radford, among those to object. The conservation group the Friends of Stanley Park also objected, only for the planning committee to vote 6-2 in favour of the scheme.
Andy Hughes, Liverpool’s managing director, said: “This is a huge milestone in our journey towards bringing more supporters into Anfield. We underwent a rigorous two-stage public consultation period during the planning process for this project and I would like to thank everyone who has offered a contribution to that.
“We have been clear from the beginning that this expansion would be based on our ability to successfully navigate the complex planning landscape; our ability to gain co-operation of local residents and the community; and our ability to ensure the project is financially viable.
“In what has been a very unpredictable year, we are seeking certainty in order to progress with this project and there are still some steps we need to take to get there.”
Originally published by Goal.