County news January 7, 2016

Leicestershire get floodlights green light

ESPNcricinfo staff

Leicestershire hope to have floodlights installed at Grace Road for the start of the NatWest Blast © PA Photos

Leicestershire have been granted planning permission to install floodlights at Grace Road, a development that has been viewed as vital to the club's survival.

Floodlit evening T20 matches have become increasingly important to driving gate revenue in the domestic game and Wasim Khan, Leicestershire's chief executive, said the decision would help the club "retain and grow our audiences". Khan had previously addressed residents' concerns about light pollution by warning that, without floodlights, "we might not be here in five years' time".

The path has now been cleared, with Leicester City Council unanimously approving the proposals. Leicestershire will begin work immediately and hope to have the floodlights in place in time for their opening NatWest Blast game in May.

"It is fantastic news for Leicestershire County Cricket Club that planning permission was granted at the meeting," Khan said. "Floodlights are an important aspect of supporting our sustainability strategy and we look forward to improving the match-day experience for our supporters.

"We saw an average 48% increase in attendances at Grace Road for NatWest T20 Blast matches in 2015. The installation of floodlights will help us to both retain and grow our audiences. We can start our NatWest T20 Blast games later in the evening which will give more people the opportunity to attend after work."

Leicestershire are currently one of four counties without permanent floodlights. Gloucestershire have been granted planning permission, while Somerset are expected to draw up plans as part of their ground redevelopment, which would leave Worcestershire as the only county unable to play evening games.

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  • Nutcutlet on January 8, 2016, 6:45 GMT

    Good for Leicester! I must admit that the thought of concrete pillars round the lovely New Road ground at Worcester is a real dilemma. Surely, if they should appear, they must be retractable. Then what happens when the Severn floods? I would expect the ECB (not short of a few bob) to examine the possibility in conjunction with WCCC - and if retractable flood-lighting is the way to go, then a special grant to cover the additional cost should be available. Perhaps this matter is already under consideration.

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