Liverpool have agreed to sell their historic Melwood training ground, ahead of their planned relocation to a new state-of-the-art facility in Kirkby.
The Reds confirmed that affordable housing provider, Torus, has acquired the West Derby site, despite a campaign from locals and politicians, urging the club to retain the facility for community use.
However, the news that the structure to be built on the site will be social, affordable housing, rather than private, will be welcome by most people who live in the area.
Torus is a charitable, not-for-profit housing trust with 1,600 homes in the West Derby area.
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The group merged with Liverpool Mutual Homes earlier this year, and manages around 4,000 social homes across the North West.
Liverpool hierarchy said the group was identified as the best socially responsible housing developer to take over the site.
According to the European champions, all funds from the sale of the facility will be reinvested back into the first team squad. The club also said the new £50 million training complex in Kirkby, will be in use from next summer.
Work on the project started in 2018, and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020. The first team will start training for the 2020/21 season at the new facility.
According to Liverpool Echo, the Anfield side were granted permission for plans to demolish Melwood and replace it with housing by the Liverpool Council’s planning committee in December 2017.
Announcing the deal, Andy Hughes, the Executive Vice President, Operations & Finance at Liverpool, said: “Today marks another significant milestone in this hugely important and ambitious project.
“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. 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.”
The club said it, alongside Torus recognise that Melwood has played an important role in the history of the club, and will be working with local residents to ensure its legacy continues, as part of the forthcoming plans.
Chris Bowen, Managing Director of Torus Developments, said: “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 LFC to ensure the legacy of this incredibly historical site is a theme throughout.
“Our plans are still at an early stage but will be driven by providing quality affordable homes that address local need, including specialist housing provision where older people and those with additional care needs can lead sociable, fulfilling and independent lives.”