Thursday 2 October 2008 

£45m Package For Riverside Stadium in UK

One NorthEast has approved £715,000 of funding for the expansion of the Riverside Stadium in Chester-le-Street, home of Durham County Cricket Club (DCCC).

One NorthEast has approved the Single Programme funding for the creation of the extra seating, on top of £242,000 of investment approved earlier this year which went towards feasibility and preparatory works tied into the overall £45m package of improvements.

The investment, which comes as the club were confirmed County Champions for the first time in their 16-year top flight history, will enable further seating to be created, which will meet the standards of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and give the ground a better chance of securing international matches, particularly five-day Test Matches.

The need for additional seating was identified as part of an overall masterplan, which One NorthEast has worked on with the club, which considered a number of other areas for investment for the stadium, including a 150-bed luxury hotel and extended conference facilities.

David Harker, Chief Executive of Durham County Cricket Club, said: “Durham County Cricket Club is committed to bringing the highest quality cricket to the region and it’s important that we complete Riverside Stadium to meet the expectations of the modern cricket supporter.”

An average Test Match can attract up to 80,000 spectators over five days which will increase to 100,000 over the same period once the ground is completed.

It is hoped the addition of activities, facilities and a hotel would encourage these visitors to stay in North East England overnight, one of the priorities of One NorthEast’s award-winning ‘Passionate people. Passionate places’ marketing campaign.

Louise Davis, Head of Culture and Tourism at One NorthEast, said: “The Riverside Stadium is one of the region’s leading sporting venues

“Over the last couple of years it has really established itself by securing high profile cricket matches and plays an important role in putting the North East on the national and international map.

“However, if we’re to build on this success continued investments and improvements are vital, and that’s exactly what this funding from One NorthEast is assisting with. We know the importance of the club in terms if raising the region’s sporting profile so I’m delighted we’ve been able to support it with further financial assistance.”

The plans to increase the ground’s capacity to 20,000 would strengthen Durham’s bid to be a host venue for emerging world Twenty20 events.

Ken Jarrold, Chairman of County Durham Economic Partnership, which is supporting the Durham County Cricket Club with its development plans, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the further development of one of the county’s most valuable assets.”