County news March 1, 2007

Warwickshire plan for future

Cricinfo staff

Edgbaston will undergo a face-lift over the coming years © Getty Images
Warwickshire have announced plans to secure their future as a Test venue with regeneration of Edgbaston and the surrounding area.

Colin Povey, the chief executive, unveiled the project at the club's AGM and emphasised how important international status is to Warwickshire. Staging England matches generates more than £10 million a year for the local economy, but the ground is facing more competition with an increase in grounds wanting to host Tests and ODIs.

In recent years Headingley and The Oval have undergone significant redevelopment to sustain their status while Old Trafford have recently announced plans for a new 25,000-seater stadium.

Birmingham City Council is supporting the scheme and Councillor Ken Hardeman said: "This is great news for the city as a whole. International cricket is a great asset to Birmingham and it is crucial that we do not lose such an important part of our history and sporting culture.

"We fully recognise the value of sports-led regeneration and are keen to work with Warwickshire to help them develop state of the art sporting and spectator facilities."

Povey added: "We've been delighted with the response from the Council. The proposed plans will compliment the Edgbaston Mill development which is already starting to take shape across the road," he said. "Obviously, this is just the start of the process and we will be consulting with the local residents and other interested parties in the months ahead.

"We are confident that this regeneration will provide enhanced facilities and benefit the local community. The fulfilment of our dream is some way off but it is great to have a project of this magnitude in the pipeline."

Edgbaston's current staging agreement with the ECB expires in 2010. In 2007 they don't host a Test match but England will play two ODIs at the ground against West Indies and India.