Minister steps in to revive Everton's doomed Kirby project

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The immigration minister and North West MP Phil Woolas has attempted to explore ways of reviving Everton's plans for a 50,000 capacity ground, by meeting with local Knowsley Council yesterday.

It is unclear whether Mr Woolas's suggestions – that the size of the accompanying Tesco facility be reduced, thus clearing the planning hurdle which saw the Kirkby project rejected by a Government-appointed inspector – might have potential. Everton indicated last week that the project was dead and that Tesco could not make it viable with a smaller superstore.

But George Howarth, another local MP, said there was some hope. "The main objection against the previous one was the amount of retail, and he's looking at whether or not a new plan with less retail – presumably including the new stadium – is possible," he explained.