Old Trafford cleared for redevelopment
A High Court bid to block Lancashire's plans to upgrade Old Trafford ground has failed. Property company Derwent Holdings, owners of nearby White City retail park, sought a judicial review of planning permission given to the club.
Lancashire had warned any delay in implementing its £32m redevelopment plans could threaten its status as a venue for international matches. The plans have had to survive a host of set backs, with a supermarket threatening legal action last year. But all now appears to be sorted and the ground can secure its future as an international venue.
Jim Cumbes, the Lancashire chief executive, had warned that the review's outcome would "make or break" the club and was suitably relieved that the redevelopment can proceed: "This is a historic moment for Old Trafford, as it will ultimately secure the future of international cricket in Greater Manchester and the North West as well as enabling us to fulfil our promises to local schools and the local community at large.
"This development has undergone every kind of scrutiny and delay possible and we have successfully cleared every hurdle put in front of us. "We can now turn our attention to the work that needs doing to enable us to submit our bid for an Ashes Test match in 2013.
The plans will see the capacity of the ground increased to 15,000 by the addition of two new stands, with the possibility that that could rise to 25,000 with the use of temporary seating.
In addition, the square has been reoriented 90 degrees to prevent play being lost due to the setting sun in September and to provide some additional wickets. The ends will now be known as the Pavilion End and the Brian Statham End.