HSE objections overcome June 9, 2009

Oval development finally gets the go-ahead

Cricinfo staff

Surrey have finally received approval for their controversial development at The Oval which includes the building of a new stand and hotel on the gasholder side of the ground.

Although the local council gave the green light to the plan in January 2008, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) asked for the plans to reconsidered by the Secretary of State over concerns that the development was too close to the famous Kennington Gasholder station. The fact that the gasholders, which are also surrounded by dense housing, have been next to the venue for more than a century appeared to make the HSE's decision bizarre.

However, after a lengthy and expensive public inquiry, the plans were passed.

A new stand will increase the capacity of The Oval to 25,000, and there will also be a 168-bedroom hotel.

"This decision has been a long time coming, and we are very pleased with the outcome," Paul Sheldon, Surrey's chief executive, said. "The development is an important one both for cricket and our community. The continued improvement of facilities at The Oval means that international cricket is guaranteed a place here for many years to come."