Liverpool FC takes back ownership of iconic Melwood site to develop its Women’s team

Liverpool FC has re-acquired its former Melwood training ground from a housing developer.

The club will transform the site into an elite training base and Professional Game Academy for its Women’s first team and academy.

LFC also has plans to use the site for community outreach facilities for its LFC Foundation programmes, as well as for offering education to young people via the Fowler Education and Football Academy (FEFA).

A planning application will be brought forward to support these aspirations in due course, which will require the support of local residents and the wider community.

The Melwood site that stood for all the club held dear for 70 years was sold to Torus, the North West affordable housing provider and developer, in 2019 – with the men’s first team moving to the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby in 2020.

LFC has looked at a number of options for alternative sites in recent years to develop into a top-level training base for the women’s first team and Category 1 Professional Game Academy that could sit alongside a strong community hub. It said Melwood is the perfect fit for many reasons.

The intention is Melwood will offer an elite facility that enables LFC Women’s first team to continue to compete at the highest level, attracting, developing and retaining the best talent in the game.

As part of the move, the LFC Women crest will move to the official club crest to further demonstrate the team’s inclusivity and being very much part of Liverpool FC.

Torus has confirmed it will use the funds from the sale of Melwood to continue its strategy of increasing much-needed homes across Merseyside.

Liverpool FC’s managing director, Andy Hughes, said: “This is a truly historic moment for Liverpool Football Club and the continued desire of the LFC Women board to elevate and develop our women’s first team and Category 1 Professional Game Academy.

“Now is the right time to make this move and we’re absolutely delighted that we’ve managed to take this opportunity to return to Melwood and to see it start a new chapter of Liverpool’s commitment to our women’s first team and academy.

“We also have an opportunity to further develop the use of the site to support the local community by using it as an additional base for LFC Foundation. We are delighted that FEFA will continue to use the site for its college that provides sport and educational opportunities for young people.

“We would like to thank Robbie Fowler and Jamie Carragher for their work with Torus since we left the site in 2019.

“We have always taken the views of the local community seriously and we look forward to re-engaging with them in the near future.”

Chris Bowen, managing director at Torus Developments, said: “All our developments are designed to help transform places and inspire growth. We believe Liverpool FC is best-placed to use this location to support the growth of women’s football and to maximise the benefit of the site to the wider community.

“Although we will not be delivering this development, Torus will continue to seek other opportunities to develop affordable homes in Liverpool and to help local communities thrive.”

Torus took the keys to Melwood in November 2020.

It said it aimed to redevelop the site into a modern, multi-generational housing complex that will meet the current and future needs of local residents by building a variety of house types which will be available via affordable rented and home ownership options, such as shared ownership, with an emphasis on meeting the needs of older and vulnerable people.

In December 2022 it secured planning consent to build 162 homes in a £48m project. However, last summer some local residents objected to the new homes plan.

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