Lancashire County Cricket Club and its partners are celebrating the confirmation by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that their plans to redevelop the stadium can proceed.
“This is a historic moment for Old Trafford, as it will ultimately secure the future of international cricket in Greater Manchester and the Northwest,” said LCCC Chief Executive Jim Cumbes.
“We can now immediately commit to the turning of the wicket, a vital stage in our programme for the re-developed stadium to be ready in time to host the The Ashes in 2013.
“This decision has brought years of painstaking work to fruition for the Club and gives the go-ahead for our next £32m of investment in new pitches, stands, state of the art player and media facilities and an extension to the ground’s indoor cricket school and public areas. Two new grandstands and a re-furbished Pavilion will ensure a capacity of 15,000 capable of rising to 25,000 with temporary seating. There will also be floodlights and a screen showing action replays.”
Government Office North West informed Trafford Council that its approval in March of the planning application to redevelop Old Trafford cricket ground and the surrounding area need not be ‘called in’ by the government.
Now Secretary of State Eric Pickles has confirmed the decision, the Partnership’s innovative sports-led regeneration strategy for a 50-acre mixed use neighbourhood can swing into action.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had confirmed that without substantial redevelopment, after this year’s Test Match against Bangladesh there would have been no more Test match cricket at Old Trafford and the future of international cricket in general there would be in jeopardy.
LCCC Chief Executive Jim Cumbes said: “We can now press on with redeveloping the famous Old Trafford cricket ground and securing our place as one of the world’s best cricketing arenas.
"The government has backed the council’s recognition of the important role the club plays in supporting Trafford’s economy – especially through hosting international matches like the Ashes.
“And this decision backs the partnership’s plans to deliver a much-needed new retail offering, hundreds of local jobs, and millions of pounds in regeneration to this part of the borough.
“With construction work now set to progress, I would personally like to thank everyone who has backed our proposals. We have been overwhelmed by the level of support and encouragement we have received.”
Michael Kissman, Corporate Affairs Manager for Tesco said: “This is a flagship development for us in the Manchester area and we are delighted that we can now proceed with the scheme and support the redevelopment of the cricket ground. This will create hundreds of jobs in the local area and most importantly half the jobs created in the Tesco store will be reserved for the long term unemployed.”
The development alone will bring investment of at least £70 million into parts of Trafford which suffer from low levels of economic activity and employment.