Everton's hopes of moving to a new stadium look set to be dashed with an official announcement expected on Thursday confirming proposals to build a new ground in Kirkby have been rejected.
Club sources confirmed to the Press Association last night that Everton's plans to relocate from Liverpool to a new £400million stadium and shopping centre had been rejected following a public inquiry.
It was thought the move would have brought up to 7,000 jobs in Kirkby - an impoverished suburb of Knowsley. Knowsley Council were unavailable for comment.
It is thought the main reason behind the Communities and Local Government Department's rejection was that the development might take money away from other Merseyside centres.
A Tesco spokesman said: "We have not been formally notified yet, but we are expecting to be told on Thursday when we will be able to comment."
An opponent of the move Ian Morris, of the Kirkby Residents' Action Group, said: "That is brilliant, it is fantastic news.
"The club have a major problem with no new stadium and will have to look at redeveloping Goodison. But our campaign was never about football, but the town we live in.
"We believe the football stadium would have destroyed our town. Kirkby is only a small town and they were talking about a 55,000-seater stadium built right in the town with a huge retail development which we thought was inappropriate.
"It would have had a major negative effect on the retailers working in the existing town centre. The stadium would have disrupted everybody's lives every time there was a football match."
The Communities and Local Government Department, headed by John Denham, was also unavailable for comment.
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