Mayor Joe Anderson is confident the city council will not have to repay an £8.2m European grant in the wake of Liverpool’s decision to abandon plans for a new stadium.
On Monday the club confirmed they were to push ahead with a redevelopment of Anfield on the back of a regeneration plan for the wider area.
Now proposals for a new ground in nearby Stanley Park have been shelved, providing Liverpool can secure the necessary planning permissions and agreements to expand their current home, it raises a question over what happens to the money from the European Regional Development Fund earmarked for improving and preparing the park in advance of any construction work being done.
“We are looking at the option of using the money in the wider regeneration sense, and I don’t believe we will have to pay it back,” Anderson told the Liverpool Echo.
“If we don’t use it for regeneration or development and leave things as they are, then it would have to be paid, but we don’t think that’s how we are going to approach this.”
According to the Echo, in 2010 the Audit Commission reported the risk of having to pay back the money if such an outcome occurred was a “serious concern”.
The report stated: “The grant offer was made on the condition that the new Liverpool Football Club stadium will be built in Stanley Park.
“In the event that this does not occur, then the European Regional Development Fund grant of £8.2m will be repayable.”