Lancashire County Cricket Club has secured a £2.65 million investment from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) to upgrade its facilities and help to secure the future of international cricket in the region.
Fierce competition for the rights to stage International Test matches has recently seen the ground, and the region, lose Test Matches for the next 3 years, with the real possibility of never recovering them. The improvement and modernisation of the ground’s facilities will go a long way to ensuring that Old Trafford regains its place on the International Test Match circuit in time for the 2013 Ashes Test.
The Agency’s investment will help to support the development of a number of facilities to enable the Club to become more competitive in hosting future international cricket matches. This first phase includes:
• The construction of a new Hospitality & Events Grandstand, incorporating ‘green’ elements such as ground source heating, solar heating and rain water harvesting;
• The provision of up to 2,500 new permanent spectator seats;
• Specific cricketing developments including floodlights, a power upgrade, new outfield and drainage system and a new scoreboard and replay screen;
• Providing a catalyst for the commercial redevelopment of the adjoining Trafford district centre.
This first phase is part of a wider sports-led regeneration scheme of Old Trafford Cricket Ground and the surrounding area, which aims to bring long term commercial and community benefits to Trafford. A development partnership, involving Ask Developments, Lancashire County Cricket Club, Trafford Council and Tesco has been formed to drive this vision forward.
Steven Broomhead, NWDA Chief Executive, said:
“The Agency’s investment will help to unlock an important first stage of the cricket ground’s development which would not be able to progress without public sector intervention. This would result in the region facing the potential permanent loss of international cricket, and greatly reduce the impact the Club makes to the regional economy.
“As well as helping to strengthen the region’s tourism offer by helping to create an internationally-significant visitor destination, importantly this investment will help to safeguard jobs and lever in substantial private sector investment.”
Jim Cumbes, Lancashire County Cricket Club Chief Executive, said:
“We have had an excellent working relationship with the NWDA for many years, and I think it’s fair to say, they were as disappointed as we were when Old Trafford wasn’t awarded an Ashes Test Match. Since that announcement back in 2006, we’ve been in talks about how we can work together on delivering Test Match cricket at Old Trafford for decades to come.
“The North West community loves its cricket, and Test Cricket at Old Trafford has traditionally attracted sports-lovers from throughout the UK and the world. Our sports-led regeneration scheme is one of the most complex developments in sports history, but if everyone is as keen, supportive and excited about our plans as the NWDA, then our ambitions will be met in time for the Ashes in 2013.
“Not only do we hope to bring back Test Match cricket to Old Trafford, but the completion of Phase 1 will safeguard existing jobs and create new ones going forward.”