IT’S the end of an era for Liverpool Football Club’s Melwood training ground in West Derby, but with its acquisition by housing provider Torus a new lease of life beckons.
The club secured planning consent for the proposed redevelopment of the Melwood ground back in 2017; part of plans to invest in a new training facility for Liverpool FC’s first team and Academy sides at Kirkby.
Torus was identified throughout the tender process as the “best socially responsible housing developer” to take over the site, the club said.
The housing provider said its plans are at an early stage, but the aim is to deliver “affordable” homes that meet local need, including specialist housing for older people and those with additional care needs to live independent lives.
“Having concluded the purchase of the site our priority now is to work with the community to establish proposals that work for everyone,” said Steve Coffey, group chief executive of Torus.
Chris Bowen, managing director of group company Torus Developments, added: “With more than 1,600 homes in the area, we’re already a long-standing part of the West Derby community, so being selected to develop this site at the heart of the neighbourhood means a great deal to us.
“Consultation with local residents is very important to us and we look forward to meeting with the community in due course. We will also be working closely with [Liverpool FC] to ensure the legacy of this incredibly historical site is a theme throughout.”
Work started on Liverpool FC’s new training ground at Kirkby in summer 2018 and is expected to be completed in summer 2020. The first team will start the 2020-21 season from their new home.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sale of the Melwood site having played such a significant role in the club’s history,” said Andy Hughes, the club’s executive vice president of operations and finance. “But the site is limited in terms of space and is unable to accommodate the club’s ambitions for a new first-class combined training facility.
“It’s over two years since we started this journey and we’d like to thank everyone who has been involved, particularly local residents in West Derby for their feedback and patience during this tender process.
“All funds from the sale of the Melwood site will be reinvested back into the first-team squad and the state-of-the-art training centre at the new Kirkby site.”