Huskisson, Sandon and Bramley-Moore Docks, Sandhills, 1927
Huskisson, Sandon and Bramley-Moore Docks in action, Sandhills, Liverpool 1927 © Historic England EPW018890 Explore more photos
Huskisson, Sandon and Bramley-Moore Docks in action, Sandhills, Liverpool 1927 © Historic England EPW018890 Explore more photos

Everton FC New Stadium

Liverpool’s docks are the pride of this incredible city and key to its global significance. They play an important part in the stories of local people and their family heritage.

The docks are an outstanding example of dock design and cargo-handling which influenced ports around the globe. In 1844 five new docks, the Stanley Dock complex, were built in one phase. The Grade II listed Bramley-Moore Dock, the largest of the five docks, was used by the largest steamers of the time and was in use until last year, mostly recently as a dock for the tugs guiding shipping on the Mersey. Its international significance led to its inclusion in the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City World Heritage Site and in the Stanley Dock Conservation Area.

This special character has led the area to be the focus of a number of fantastic heritage regeneration schemes which we have supported, including the Titanic Hotel and the conversion of the Tobacco Warehouse, both formerly derelict warehouses and now destinations in their own right. The water-based heritage of the area will also be continued in the development of the Cruise Liner Terminal and The Isle of Man Ferry Terminal in the docks.  These recent improvements to the area, as well as its future potential, are part of the appeal to Everton Football Club to relocate there.

A new stadium for Everton Football Club is close to the hearts of its fans and football has long formed part of Liverpool’s identity. We support the need for a state of the art facility that reflects the club’s status and history. It is possible to achieve both new development and retain important heritage in Liverpool.  We acknowledge the potential benefits that a new stadium could bring to north Liverpool and we understand the challenges that the area faces. The dock has planning permission for residential development so there are potential alternative solutions that could retain the water-filled dock whilst developing the currently derelict area.  We do not believe that the city faces a stark choice between dereliction or football stadium. 

We have had extensive and productive discussions with the Club about how best to develop the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and understand the attraction of this exceptional location. There is a strong desire to build a new stadium that is sensitive to its surroundings and context. This is highlighted by the positive enhancements made to the design of the stadium over the summer. However, we consider that the proposal to infill the dock would fundamentally change its historic character as a water-filled basin which so clearly tells the story of the docks and has contributed to its status as a World Heritage Site.  The loss of the water would result in substantial harm to the significance of the Grade II listed Bramley-Moore Dock and cause harm to the World Heritage Site.

Due to the impact of the proposals on a World Heritage Site, which has the highest level of heritage protection and is internationally significant, we regrettably think that this application should be determined by the Secretary of State and will ask for it to be called in for his determination. We have also advised that the application should be refused, unless the decision-maker concludes that the public benefits would outweigh the damage to Bramley-Moore dock and the harm to the World Heritage Site which the proposals would cause.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Historic England's role in this- why do you have a say?

  • We have a specific role as part of the planning process to provide advice to the local planning authority, in this case Liverpool City Council, on how the historic environment would be impacted by proposals for change. It is for the decision-makers in the planning process to weigh our advice carefully alongside other aspects of the proposals, for example job creation. We do not have a remit to consider aspects of proposals unrelated to the historic environment when providing advice.

The site is derelict. Why do you want to leave it like that? What are your plans to regenerate the area if the stadium isn’t built there?

  • Bramley-Moore Dock was a working dock until 2019.
  • There are potential alternative solutions that could retain the water-filled dock whilst developing the currently derelict area.
  • Liverpool City Council has positively set out a strategy for heritage-led regeneration around the Stanley Dock area in their draft Ten Streets Framework. This looks to build on the area’s special character to create a vibrant and diverse community in the area. It is one of a number of strategies to reinvigorate North Liverpool which we have supported.

What was your view on the sewage works in the neighbouring dock?

  • We raised serious concerns about the sewage works proposal because infilling the dock was proposed and there was a lack of evidence that the infilling was necessary. However, the proposal was carefully considered by the decision-makers who decided the public benefits outweighed the harm.

Why did you agree to other developments in Liverpool such as Liverpool One Centre, Allerton Manor, Mann Island and others?

  • The approval of a development proposal by the Local Planning Authority (the decision maker in the planning process) does not indicate that we have either supported or objected to a proposal. Each application is unique and we deal with them individually. Our advice for each application goes through a very thorough internal process. This advice is then considered by the Local Planning Authority along with many other comments, including from the public, in order for a decision to be reached. 

Why is Bramley-Moore dock important? It has been derelict for years.

  • The docks are an outstanding example of dock design and cargo-handling which influenced ports around the globe. This special character has led the area to be the focus of a number of fantastic heritage regeneration schemes which we have supported, including the Titanic Hotel and the conversion of the Tobacco Warehouse. These recent improvements to the area, as well as its future potential, are part of the appeal to Everton Football Club to relocate there.
  • The loss of the water would result in substantial harm to the significance of the Grade II listed Bramley-Moore Dock and cause harm to the World Heritage Site.

When was the last time you visited the site?

  • Visiting locations is an important part of our work in assessing a planning application’s impact on local heritage. We employ experts local to each region who have deep knowledge of the areas in which they live and work who visited many times since 2017, most recently in February 2020. Our statutory role in the planning process is focussed on heritage impact and it is for the planning authority to consider our advice alongside other evidence to balance all potential benefits and impacts.

What happens next with this application?

  • The proposals would significantly affect a World Heritage Site, which has the highest level of heritage protection and is internationally significant. As such, the impact of a decision on this case reaches beyond Liverpool City Council and so we believe that the application should be decided at a national level. If the Council is minded to approve the application, we will ask that it be determined by the Secretary of State.
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