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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Ground boost for Liverpool
The current Anfield stadium
Liverpool's plans to build a new 60,000-seater have been approved by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

The Premiership club received planning approval in July but needed Prescott to rubber stamp the project due to its size and the scale of opposition to it.

"This is extremely good news, it is obviously another big step towards our new stadium and I am delighted," said Liverpool chairman Rick Parry.

"It is not the final hurdle, but another very, very significant one."

The only opposition now could come from individual people or organisations calling for a judicial review.

But with the Government clearly not intent on their own enquiry, further opposition is either unlikely or doomed to failure.

Parry added: "At least we can now focus on getting it built and getting it funded.

"There are legal avenues that can still be explored by objectors, but we hope there will not be any more.

"Obviously it is great from the club's point of view but also the local community who want to see things happen.

"We still hope it fits to the time scale we had planned, it is now fairly tight but 2007 is still the date we aim to finish the work by."

The cost of the planned stadium development has increased from 80m to 120m and the club have yet to secure all the funding but Parry is happy with progress.

"There is a higher cost, which almost always happens with a project of this nature, but we are still confident it can be funded," said Parry.

"We are still confident we will secure the funding but equally we have always said we would only go ahead if it was a viable project.

"We have to secure the funding and further detailed design, but hopefully we will start work on time.

"The funding is going fairly well at the moment. You need a real project, and getting the planning permission and now this go-ahead from the Government are significant steps."

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