Grace Road ‘meat on the bones’ rejig plans


Leicestershire County Cricket Club announce major redevelopment plans Image: Leicestershire CCC

The Leicestershire County Cricket Club has entered into consultation with developers, stakeholders and the community after announcing intentions for a £60m redevelopment of their residence – the Uptonsteel County Ground in Leicester, England (UK).

‘Leicestershire County Cricket Club’ stated that the club has been working extensively with architects, research consultants and financial bodies to produce design specifications that have the scope to transform the existing stadium and create new facilities for the surrounding community.

The Leicestershire County Cricket Club is one of 18 first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales (UK). It represents the historic county of Leicestershire. It has also been representative of the county of Rutland. The club’s limited overs team is called the Leicestershire Foxes.

The 6,000-capacity Grace Road, known for sponsorship reasons as the Uptonsteel County Ground, Grace Road, is a cricket ground in Leicester, England (UK). It is the home ground and administrative base of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

Sean Jarvis, Chief Executive, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, revealed recently that among the options being explored are the development of residential homes, healthcare and retail options. The launch of an Academy of Cricket campus, which could host a wide range of academic activities including the world’s first master of business administration (MBA) in cricket management, also forms part of the long-term vision for the project.

‘Leicestershire County Cricket Club’ further stated that the club is currently in talks with a number of interested stakeholders who are eager to get the plans up and running and a local residents’ group has been formed. The group has attended an initial forum to ensure those who live nearby can be fully involved in the process.

Added Jarvis, “This is something we have been working on for some considerable time alongside research consultants who have presented us with a number of viable options. It is now a case of putting more ‘meat on the bones’ on the proposals and we will therefore be holding talks with a wide range of interested stakeholders. Our intention is to consult with the community along every step of this journey. We need to generate new revenue streams if we wish for the club to develop, and the progression of these plans will not only guarantee a bright future for the club, but also for the local community who will benefit hugely from this investment.”

Of the proposed academic activities, he added, “As a club, we have always enjoyed success in developing cricketing talent of the future on the pitch. Our ambition is that we now want to replicate this off the pitch by creating opportunities for individuals searching for a career in the wider cricket environment. We have already held explorative talks with several higher education providers in the region and their feedback has been very encouraging.”

Maintained Mark Lewis, Dean of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at the Loughborough University, who are working in partnership with the Leicestershire County Cricket Club, “I welcome this announcement. The Leicestershire County Cricket Club has an important place in the regional and national sporting landscape. The potential of an academic offering in partnership with higher education providers such as the Loughborough University will be an attractive and exciting proposition.”

The Loughborough University is a public research university in the market town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, England (UK). It has been a university since 1966, but it dates back to 1909, when the Loughborough Technical Institute began with a focus on skills directly applicable in the wider world.

Sustainable development has been considered as part of the research undertaken along with potential ways of offsetting carbon emissions.

News of the investment project has been warmly welcomed by the Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, who put in, “Leicester is rightly proud of its sporting institutions. Our City has already benefited from the Premiership Rugby team Leicester Tigers’ redevelopment of their 25,849-capacity Welford Road Stadium site in Leicester, England. I welcome the cricket club’s announcement and their plans to bring wider benefits to the local community, including new academic programs with the potential to put Leicestershire on the international stage.”

It has also received the backing of supporters with John Stew, Chairman and Secretary of Friends of Grace Road, a volunteer-run supporters club, saying, “This is exciting news, and we look forward to being involved in the process to make our club financially sustainable. This could create a real legacy for the Leicestershire County Cricket Club and hopefully inspire greater success on the field.”

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