County news January 16, 2013

Essex reveal £80m ground scheme

ESPNcricinfo staff

Essex have revealed plans for an £80 million upgrade of their Chelmsford home. The development will turn the County Ground "from a stadium into a destination" according to club treasurer Keith Brown.

The plans include a new pavilion and banqueting suite for 500 people, a new indoor school, car park, public square and a bridge over the river Chelmer, which runs behind one end of the ground.

The development will be funded by 320 apartments built on land owned by the club adjacent to the ground.

The project has been delayed by the economic downturn with plans initially drawn up in 2004 and planning permission granted in 2010.

The first phase will see 62 apartments built on the current car park. 90% of those apartments have already been sold. Work on the pavilion is not expected to begin until 2014 with the whole project completed by 2017.

"Chelmsford is becoming very attractive," Brown said. "The current stadium is very old and quite simply, needed replacing, and the only way was to have an enabling development. The whole site will link up to the city much more and offer much more for people to visit to the club ground."

The model of development reflects Gloucestershire's plans to fund their own £10 million ground revamp with a block of apartments at Bristol.

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