Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Warren Bradley _158
LIVERPOOL council leader Warren Bradley was last night accused of insulting the people of Kirkby, as well as the fans of Everton FC, following his claim that the club’s proposed new home would be “a cow shed in a small town”.
In the first response to the attack, reported exclusively in Saturday’s Daily Post, Knowsley council leader, Cllr Ron Round, expressed disappointment at Cllr Bradley’s outburst.
Cllr Round said Cllr Bradley was dealing with the issue as an Everton fan rather than as a strategic leader.
And he added it was Everton FC and Tesco who jointly approached Knowsley Council because Liverpool had failed to provide any feasible sites for a new stadium within the city boundary.
Cllr Round told the Daily Post: “In Knowsley, we have always tried to encourage investment and regeneration across the whole of Merseyside.
“We realise that projects which have a positive impact in the region can also have a positive impact in our borough.
“I think that Merseyside has been working together better than ever in recent times, which is why I was disappointed that Warren Bradley has chosen to work against a proposal which could create more than 2,000 new jobs and transform Kirkby into a premier leisure and retail destination.
“Warren Bradley’s remark is nothing more than an insult to local people and the football club he maintains that he passionately supports.
“I would point out that Knowsley Council has been regenerating the Kirkby area for the past fifteen years into a successful location for major business investment including Liverpool Football Club, QVC and News International.
“Our talks with Tesco and Everton have been progressing well and could provide a scheme that will deliver immense benefits for the whole of Merseyside, and not just Kirkby or Knowsley.
“This could generate an extra income for the region of up to £21.5m per year.
“Knowsley values meeting the needs of our community and the wider Merseyside community and is taking into consideration the views of people who live and work in Kirkby to make sure we make the right decision to secure a prosperous future for the town centre.”
Cllr Bradley last weekend made his first response to Everton’s proposals to move to a new home in Kirkby by putting forward three sites within the city that he said could accommodate a new stadium and suggested Goodison Park was capable of being refurbished.
“He said the club should seek wealthy investors, in the same way that Liverpool FC, Manchester United and Southampton have.”
The Tesco deal effectively means Everton will get a new home without being saddled with a huge debt.
Cllr Round said he hoped the outburst will not affect relationships between his Labour run authority and Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat administration.
Last night Knowsley North MP George Howarth said: “Warren’s comments were offensive to the people of Kirkby and ill judged.
“I hope on reflection he will agree that what he said was not a useful contribution to the debate among both the people of Knowsley and Everton fans.”