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September 12, 2013
Just weeks after their redeveloped ground was unveiled during the Investec Ashes series, Lancashire are to dismantle and rebuild large parts of two new stands at Old Trafford.
Work to dismantle the top tiers of the new southeast and southwest stands, either side of the new player and media facilities at the Brian Statham End, will begin as soon as the current County Championship match against Leicestershire is over.
While the stands were being built, in 2012, one of the contractors, Sabre Structures Ltd, went into administration. That caused a delay that could have rendered the stands unfinished ahead of the 2013 season, so the club installed support columns as an intermediate measure to allow the stands to be used and enable the ground to host the international cricket that is so vital to its future.
These support columns resulted in an obstructed view for some spectators, however, and were always viewed as a temporary solution.
Now, aiming to find a longer-term fix, the club will strengthen the tiers with the installation of additional structural steel which will, in turn, allow the removal of the support columns.
Work was also held up in March 2012, when one of the steel beams supporting the upper tier of seating twisted out of place, but the club insist that was an isolated incident and not relevant to the installation of the support columns.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Lancashire will not be financially liable for the extra work - the cost will be met by the construction company involved - and the club are confident it will be completed in advance of the 2014 season. The club also state that the work has been scheduled for six months.
Lancashire came close to having to abandon the ground, as a legal dispute threatened the £44m redevelopment, but the unveiling of new Pavilion in June preceded Test cricket's return to Manchester for the first time since 2010.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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