Liverpool hope to start redeveloping Anfield early next year after submitting a planning application that could increase capacity at the stadium from 45,522 to 58,800.
The football club have been working with Liverpool city council and Your Housing Group on the £260m regeneration of the wider Anfield area for 18 months and on Wednesday, following a public consultation exercise, took a major step towards resolving the often contentious stadium issue.
Liverpool have applied for planning consent to expand the main stand of the stadium and outline consent to expand the Anfield Road end of the ground.
The application is expected to go before the council’s planning committee later this year and, if granted, the main stand’s capacity would rise by 8,500 to 21,000, taking Anfield’s overall capacity to 54,000. A project director, Tom Doyle, who worked on the London 2012 Olympics and the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, has been lined up to oversee the stadium redevelopment.
Work on the main stand could commence early in 2015 and be completed in time for the 2016-17 season. It would include a wide public space linking the stadium to nearby Stanley Park plus a new home for the Hillsborough Memorial. Liverpool will also consider the merits of expanding the Anfield Road stand by 4,800 seats, taking the overall stadium capacity to 58,800.
The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The overall regeneration of the area will see £260m invested and will deliver hundreds of jobs. Liverpool Football Club’s proposals for the stadium are a key part of this, so today is a really important milestone.”
Liverpool have promoted their managing director, Ian Ayre, to the role of chief executive.