County news September 5, 2008

Durham reveal ground plans

Cricinfo staff

Lumley Castle provides an imposing backdrop to Chester-le-Street, which will expand in the next year © Getty Images

Durham have unveiled plans for a £45million development of Chester-le-Street which will increase the capacity by 4000 seats to 20,000 and includes the installation of floodlights.

Temporary seating will be replaced by permanent fixtures and phase one of the plans - a small extension to the South East Terrace - has already received planning permission. Work will begin in January and is due to be finished by May 2009.

Future plans for the ground include a 150-bed hotel and a new entrance building, which will also include conference and banqueting facilities.

The permanent floodlights will be a major move for the ground, improving conditions for day/night matches which are an important earner for the county. Other developments include a TV compound and new scoreboards with replay screens.

"The ground development is essential if we are to continue to stage international cricket and positions Riverside as a leading regional venue and Durham [County Cricket Club] as a major local employer," said chief executive David Harker.

Chester-le-Street has become a fixture on the international calendar since hosting its first one-day international, between Pakistan and Scotland during the 1999 World Cup, and has held three Tests involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and West Indies. In 2009 the second Test against Sri Lanka will take place in the North East followed by the seventh, and final, ODI against Australia on September 20.