Essex have been given the green light to improve the facilities at their Chelmsford ground after approval of their planning application was delayed for closer inspection.

The ambitious plans would see most of the existing ground rebuilt, with the capacity increasing by around 2000 to 8000, but was in doubt until the secretary of state gave the go-ahead to the proposals.

In addition to the capacity improvements there will be new residential, retail, hospitality and banqueting facilities, together with an entrance piazza and river bridge to Central Park. A new multi-storey car park will replace the existing surface car parking facility at New Writtle Street, and a new Graham Gooch Cricket Centre will provide state of the art practice and coaching facilities.