Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 10:03 UK

Date for Everton stadium inquiry

Everton ground proposal
A public inquiry will start on 18 November

Everton Football Club's bid for a new stadium will be heard at a public inquiry starting in November, the government has confirmed.

Communities secretary Hazel Blears announced the decision to call in the 400m Kirkby development, which also includes a Tesco store, last month.

The 50,000-seat stadium is part of the wider regeneration of the town centre, which is in the borough of Knowsley.

The inquiry, which does not yet have a timescale, will begin on 18 November.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said ministers had thought "long and hard" about the inquiry.

Everton and Knowsley Council both expressed disappointment at the decision, with the local authority claiming it had placed the whole project in jeopardy.

'Next step'

But on Tuesday, council leader Ron Round said the early date was good news for partners in the regeneration plans.

"The council has formally accepted the date and we're pleased the inquiry will be heard so swiftly," said Mr Round.

"The people of Kirkby deserve a final decision on the regeneration of their town and holding the inquiry before the end of the year will bring clarity on the future of this development.

"We'll now be talking to our partners about the next steps in this process."

Supporters of the redevelopment, which also includes space for up to 50 other shops, argue that it will transform Kirkby and create more than 2,000 jobs.

Local opponents argue it is simply too big for a town of Kirkby's size and would create too much traffic and disruption.

And the move has split opinion among Everton fans, with many unhappy about the decision to move the club out of Liverpool.


SEE ALSO
Council welcomes Everton inquiry
11 Aug 08 |  Merseyside
New Everton stadium faces inquiry
06 Aug 08 |  Merseyside
Council backs town revamp scheme
20 Jun 08 |  Lancashire
Councils called to oppose stadium
06 May 08 |  Merseyside
Residents shown new Everton plans
30 Apr 08 |  Merseyside
Gran in Tesco boss planning war
12 Apr 08 |  Merseyside

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