Liverpool have announced their intention to let existing plans to redevelop Anfield lapse in order to submit a new, significantly upgraded application that will take the stadium's capacity to over 60,000.
Plans have been in place to redevelop the Anfield Road end side of the ground - the stand opposite the Kop which houses both home and away supporters - for some time, but they were only set to see the addition for 4,000 new seats.
Planning permission for them will expire next month, and that will allow the club to then submit new, more ambitious plans which will push capacity further towards those enjoyed by the biggest stadiums in the country. Owners Fenway Sports Group are now determined to see Anfield reflect the club's new status, and want to add to the £110million they spend on redeveloping the Main Stand which opened in September 2016.
The Reds' chief operating officer Andy Hughes said: “The progress that has been made during ongoing feasibility studies has resulted in us being in a position to allow the outline planning permission to lapse. We are committed to working with local residents, planning officials and others as we now focus on the detail behind any proposed redevelopment for Anfield Road.
“Throughout this process we have been clear that our objective is to find the best possible solution for Anfield Road and that remains the case.”
The club are now set to engage with the Anfield community and key stakeholders once the new plans are put forward for consideration.
Liverpool Football Club (LFC) has opened a first-stage public consultation exercise on the proposed expansion of the iconic Anfield Road Stand.
The plans include increasing the capacity of the stand by around 7,000 seats, which would expand overall capacity at Anfield stadium to 61,000 – making it the third largest in the English Premier League, behind rivals Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
As well as the extra seating, the plans include sports bars and lounge hospitality areas.
The club will now host a number of drop-in events to consult the local community, local businesses, supporters and key stakeholders on the plans.
"For any expansion to the Anfield Road Stand to go ahead we need certainty on three key areas," said Andy Hughes, LFC’s chief operating officer.
"Firstly, that we are able to reach agreement with local residents, businesses and community groups that they will allow the expansion plan to take place, which will mean closing a short section of Anfield Road between 96 Avenue and Skerries Road.
"Secondly, that we have the right sustainable financial and economic model in place to deliver a long-term sustainable Anfield. And lastly, that we are able to successfully navigate the complex planning landscape. We need to be satisfied on all three points for work to proceed.
"We are working towards creating an expanded Anfield Road Stand which will see around 7,000 additional seats.
"The majority of these seats will be for general admission use and we expect some seats will be allocated for a sports bar/lounge-type hospitality in order to ensure the economic viability of the expansion.
"Further profiling is needed and we expect to provide more detail at the second-stage consultation early next year.
"These first-stage consultation sessions we are holding are crucial as they will be used to inform the design proposals we are developing, which in turn will help us to make a decision on whether to proceed with the expansion as a whole."
The plans for the proposed Anfield Road Stand expansion include exploring the opportunity for permanent permission to hold concerts and other major events at Anfield, including other sporting events such as Gaelic games and American football outside of the matchday calendar.
The first-stage public consultation on the proposed Anfield Road Stand expansion is inviting feedback until midnight on Friday December 13. A second stage of public consultation will follow in early 2020 when the detailed plans will be available.