County news February 22, 2008

Old Trafford prepares for redevelopment

Cricinfo staff


Part of Lancashire's plan is to make this scene less of a common sight at Old Trafford © Getty Images
 
Lancashire will begin the first stages of redeveloping Old Trafford next January with the initial work costing the club £12 million.

It will include replacing the County Suite, Tyldesley Suite and the Ladies stand - which runs from the pavilion around to the broadcast media centre - with a 1000-seat function room which will provide hospitality during international matches.

There are also discussions taking place with Trafford council, Ask developers and Tesco about a regeneration of the area around Old Trafford. A decision on this won't be made until later this year but Lancashire hope the first set of works will be complete by April 2010. The overall plan also includes installing permanent floodlights.

"We knew it would take time to finalise the overall development so we thought we had better show willing to the ECB and our own club members by making the first steps," chief executive Jim Cumbes told the Manchester Evening News. "We are talking to the bank about funding. If we realised our dreams of a new or improved hotel, and complete redevelopment of the ground, it would probably cost around £70m."

Lancashire believe redevelopment of the ground is the only way to secure its international future. They lost out on an Ashes Test in 2009 when the match was given to Cardiff and their current hosting agreement with the ECB runs out at the end of the forthcoming season.

From August, Lancashire will play its home matches at outgrounds such as Blackpool and Liverpool so that work can start on laying a new outfield with state-of-the-art drainage. Considerable time has been lost at Old Trafford in recent seasons when the weather has been fine because the playing area hasn't recovered from heavy rain.

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