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Surrey announce £35million Oval overhaul

Cricinfo staff

July 18, 2007

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The Oval is set for more redevelopment © Getty Images
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While Surrey's on-pitch performances may not be much to write home about right now, off the field things are looking bright. The club has finalised proposals for a £35million investment at The Oval, which they hope to have approved by the autumn.

A planning application has been submitted to Lambeth Council to further improve the ground's Test facilities and boost the regeneration of the Lambeth area.

The club, in partnership with Arora International Hotels, propose building a new stand and improved spectator facilities along with a hotel at the Pavilion End of The Oval, which is currently home to the Lock, Laker and Peter May stands.

The proposals will see the demolition of the Surrey Tavern, and the introduction of a new piazza. The idea, according to Surrey, is "to create a stunning entrance and provide a much-improved first impression of the ground for visitors arriving at Oval tube station."

The proposed new stand will include 2000 new seats to increase capacity at the ground to 25,000 from 23,000, and a variety of improved facilities, reducing the need for temporary buildings and extra deliveries on big match days.

The redevelopment is a timely one for Surrey, who are aiming to stay competitive as a Test match venue. While they have a long-standing agreement with the ECB to hold international cricket until 2023, they realise that they have to act now, as grounds such as Edgbaston, the Rose Bowl and Sophia Gardens engage in their own developments.

Surrey told Cricinfo: "If we're sitting still while everyone else is going forward, there's no guarantee that the level of international cricket we have now will remain the same in the future."

They say another reason for the development is their commitment to the community. Although there were a few dissenting voices in the residents' meeting on Monday night, the redevelopments - including the new hotel - are set to bring extra jobs to the Lambeth area.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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