Football club’s plans for former skate park

The search for a permanent home for City of Liverpool FC could soon be at an end.

Since formation in 2015, the club – which plays in the Northern Premier League – has been on the lookout for a ground to call home. Having so far been unable to put down roots, the team has shared a home with Bootle FC at the Berry Street Garage Stadium.

New plans seen by the LDRS indicate that may all be about to change, as designs have been drawn up for a future home ground off Edge Lane.

A pre-planning application submission has captured the club’s plans for land at Edge Lane recreation ground, also known as Rathbone Park. The document said how City of Liverpool Football Club (COLFC) intends to revitalise the derelict all-weather football pitch and adjoining community park to provide a “first-class community sporting amenity.”

The proposals include an enclosed community football ground for almost 2,000 spectators, with a 3G artificial grass pitch, plus associated storage, parking and access arrangements. The application said: “The redevelopment will provide for organised junior, youth and community football at the site; alongside a skate/BMX park, a children’s play park and a community garden.”

The site has been held for retail development as part of the fourth phase of Liverpool Shopping Park opposite that has not materialised, in an area of mixed commercial and residential properties. COLFC is seeking the advice of Liverpool Council ahead of a full application following an asset transfer agreement with the local authority.

The document said: “At present Edge Lane Recreation Ground is displaying the results of a decade of neglect, a consequence of the uncertainty around the proposed retail development for the site whilst subject to a developer option. The proposed location of the community football ground is currently a derelict and disused 1970s-type hard surface floodlit football pitch. 

“A skatepark, that had previously fallen into disrepair, has been partially refurbished by local skateboarders. The remainder of the park is of poor quality grassland, displaying signs of vandalism and neglect. 

“The boundary wall to the rear of these properties exhibits signs of vandalism and anti-social behaviour. COLFC proposes to transform the area adjacent to this boundary wall into a community garden, both increasing biodiversity and providing an amenity for neighbouring residents whose properties do not have gardens.”

Previously, it had been hoped a long-term future for the club could have been established almost six miles away at Adlam Park in Fazakerley. Most recently, plans for a community asset transfer had been earmarked for the park’s unused pavilion.

In 2020, the King George V Sports Complex in Huyton was transferred to the club on an initial two-year sub-lease, representing the remainder of Livv Housing Group’s tenure of the site. A further year lease has now been agreed between the club and Knowsley Council, providing lead time to agree the terms of a long-term lease.

Under the plans, a covered spectator accommodation would be located at the north end of the uncovered ground. This will comprise a low profile covered terrace, with three steps, accommodating 380 spectators.

To the rear of this spectator accommodation, and accessible to the pitch in between the seated and standing enclosures, would be the club building. It would be a low rise building of modular construction, providing changing, hospitality, medical and catering facilities.

The structures would be topped with solar panels, further enhancing the ecological benefits of the proposition. The south end of the football ground will mirror the north end in providing covered accommodation for 380 spectators in a low profile, covered, three step terrace. 

The west side of the football ground will accommodate a 420 capacity covered grandstand of modular construction together with two covered standing terraces, each providing accommodation for 180 spectators. The east side will accommodate 400 spectators over two steps of uncovered hard standing. 

The document said, “The COLFC proposal effectively creates a multi-purpose, multi-use hub for a cross-section of the community from the aged, children, other socially disadvantaged individuals and semi-professional athletes to engage in community sporting activities and other community activities, educational and training programs.”

Image: How the proposed ground could look at Edge Lane

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