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Oct 14, 2012

Liverpool set to stay at Anfield

Liverpool are set to remain at Anfield under plans due to be announced by the city's council on Monday.

• Reds may sell Anfield naming rights
• Blog: Shelvey deserves cap

The local authority is expected to make an announcement at the Town Hall about the plans for its Anfield Village housing regeneration scheme, and it is understood that the club will confirm at the same time the decision to stay put.

Principal owner John W Henry wants Liverpool to remain at Anfield, despite the fact that the club have had plans to build a new stadium on neighbouring Stanley Park since 2000.

Henry stated in June that he felt it was a "myth" that the club needed to move to a new ground to enhance their financial prospects.

Liverpool city council is expected to announce that it has approved a series of compulsory purchase order consultations on houses near Anfield that would need to be demolished in order to allow expansion.

Neither the club nor the local authority have made any official comment on the matter, and the cost of any redevelopment is unknown.

The council confirmed in April that it plans to demolish derelict houses owned by the club on Lothair Road, which runs directly behind the main stand at Anfield, as part of a regeneration project, although there has been no official confirmation that this is related to ground redevelopment.

At the time, Coun Ann O'Byrne, the council's cabinet member for housing, told the Liverpool Echo that the demolition plans, which also include a proposal for a new hotel and refurbishment of neighbouring homes, were viable regardless of whether Liverpool stayed put.

But Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre attended a meeting in May, at which residents living in streets near Anfield were presented with three options drawn up by the council for knocking down rows of houses.

Mark Kitts, the council's assistant director of regeneration, confirmed to the Guardian then that those demolitions would meet the club's requirements for redeveloping Anfield.

"We have been working with the club very closely," Kitts said. "They have said this will accommodate their needs if they stay at Anfield and refurbish the current stadium."

Liverpool are understood to want to add an extra tier, plus corporate facilities, to the Anfield Road and main stands. But a problem in doing this has always been that it would not allow nearby residential properties the minimum levels of natural light to which they are legally entitled.

The "right to light" laws, though, do not apply in the same way to commercial properties, such as hotels. Kitts said in May that he believed the demolition plans would solve the "right to light" issue.

Residents have expressed concern that they would not receive enough money from the council to relocate if their homes were demolished.

The housing association Your Housing, which owns many of the properties in the area, will also be present at the Town Hall press conference on Monday.

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