The Wallasey "Tunnel Loop" emerges as a way of keeping Everton in the city
The proposed site inside the tunnel loop off Scotland Road is currently owned by the Bestway Group, the second largest cash and carry operator in the UK with annual turnover in excess of £1.7bn, and houses the Liverpool depot of Batley's which the company acquired in January 2005.
While the location currently serves Bestway well, sitting as it does at the mouth of the Wallasey tunnel and near the main arteries leading into the city, as urban regeneration projects transform Liverpool's inner city, it's open to question whether it would make sense to have a retail depot in such proximity to Liverpool city centre in 10, 20, 50 years' time.
The area immediately to the north will undergo complete transformation in the next few years as part of "Project Jennifer", a mixed-use retail, residential and commercial regeneration project, while a large tract to the south on the other side of the Kingsway is part-owned by Liverpool City Council and has been earmarked for regeneration.
So, while Bestway's retail division had no requirement to leave the site, the approach by the LCC offered the opportunity to become part of a large-scale commercial development — one that might leverage capabilities in the Bestway Group beyond their retail operation — that would augment the Project Jennifer development and transform a gateway to the city has obvious attractions.
In terms of size, Bestway's Head of Property, Malcolm Carter, is confident that the "Loop" site would accommodate a 50,000-seat stadium and he says that his firm is already in discussions with a stadium contractor to work up designs and a proposal that would confirm that the location is viable.
Lyndon Lloyd's early exploration of the viability of the Tunnel Loop site