Liverpool plan 60,000-seat arena near Anfield

Liverpool yesterday applied for planning permission for a new 60,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park, less than 300 yards from Anfield.

The club hope to move into the £80m arena in summer 2006, providing they are given permission to begin building by Liverpool City Council.

Liverpool are said to have spent several million pounds on the plans since the idea was broached three years ago.

The club's chief executive, Rick Parry, is confident a new arena will have "a massive impact on the area" and contribute to Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008. He said: "The changes to the stadium are not massively different to the ones unveiled last year, but it will be one that cannot be compared to any existing model.

"It is a project fitting the Capital of Culture status of the city. The club sees the new stadium as a catalyst for the regeneration of the entire area, which will benefit the whole community."

The application includes plans for a museum and hall of fame, an education centre and underground car park.

Liverpool's plans do not bring an end to talk of a ground-sharing arrangement between the club and their neighbours and rivals Everton.

The idea had been mooted with both clubs looking to invest in new grounds which would be built near each other.

Liverpool also expect to apply for permission within two years to build "Anfield Plaza", a complex of hotels, offices and restaurants around the planned new stadium, which is expected to retain the Anfield name.

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