EFC Stadium design, Kirkby 03 _200
EVERTON FC’s move to a new stadium in Kirkby will be delayed by a year – even if inspectors give it the green light.
The Blues planned to be in their new 50,000 seater ground by 2011.
But the results of a nine week public inquiry are now not expected to be known until late this year.
It means Everton will stay at Goodison Park for a season longer than planned, even if it wins planning approval.
Secretary of State Hazel Blears will now rule on Destination Kirkby on, or before, November 27.
The new date has surprised many as Inspector Wendy Burden suggested she would complete her report to government by mid June.
Whitehall has indicated the final decision is highly unlikely to be reached before Parliament recesses at the end of July, not returning until mid-October.
A Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “This is a complex proposal in which strong views have been expressed and Ministers need to give it careful consideration.
“We recognise that there is a lot of interest in this case and we will look to issue the decision as quickly as possible.”
Everton, Tesco and Knowsley have repeatedly stressed the need for a quick decision.
Everton and Tesco’s QC Patrick Clarkson told the inquiry: “It is extremely urgent - if the club is to meet the 2011/12 season, a start on building is necessary this spring.