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April 23, 2009
Lancashire have pushed back the timetable for turning the Old Trafford square by a year, but are still on course to meet the redevelopment deadline of 2012 as they aim to secure their international future
The pitch was due to be rotated 90 degrees at the end of the current season, but the major project will now take place after the 2010 campaign. The club said that this is to try and minimise disruption to the cricket seasons and keep costs down.
"The decision to turn the square at the end of the 2010 season doesn't affect our goal of having the new cricket square up and running by 2012," Jim Cumbes, the chief executive, said. "The reason we've moved this element of the redevelopment is to contain the period of disruption to one season, whereas starting at the end of the 2009 season will affect two cricket seasons thus reducing the stadium's capacity and increasing costs for temporary facilities.
"Changing the programme will also provide some additional time for the club to work with outgrounds and help produce the best conditions possible for Lancashire's first-class matches during the 2011 season."
The plan for the 2011 season will be to split Lancashire's matches between Liverpool and Blackpool, while a couple of outgrounds not used in recent years may come back into consideration.
The building work at Old Trafford has swung into action over the winter with a new outfield and drainage system laid along with the demolition of the Tyldesley, County and Jubilee Suites to pave the way for a new development.
Turning the square is part of phase two, which will see the building of a new "Players, Media and Education Pavilion" on the Metrolink tram side of the ground where there is currently a double-decker stand. One of the main reasons for rotating the pitch is to prevent the setting sun causing problems during September and it will also increase the number of strips available from 11 to 16.
"Our vision and plans are very ambitious, possibly the most complex of any sports development in progress," Cumbes added. "There will be disruption for spectators and patrons over the next few years, but once built, the improved facilities will provide Lancashire with state-of-the-art facilities and a world-class venue that will have a long-term international future."
Lancashire's long-term ambition is to secure a 2013 Ashes Test having been overlooked for this year's series.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.