Lancashire County stadium makeover gets nod



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Lancashire County Cricket Club update Jan 2020 Image: themancphotographer.co.uk

The next phase of revamp at Old Trafford Cricket Ground has been green lighted by Trafford Council. This was revealed by Lancashire County Cricket Club at a planning meeting held at Trafford Town Hall at Greater Manchester in United Kingdom recently.

However, one councilor has voted against the plans. Coun Daniel Jerome (Green), who represents Altrincham (a town in Trafford), was concerned that part of the site had originally been allocated for housing in previous area plans; housing which he said “this borough needs”.

Despite his reservations, Coun Jerome did accept the fact that the plans for the stadium were “exciting and positive”.

A new stand which can fit in 4,850 supporters in lieu of the Red Rose Suite, and is set to boast a pitch-view suite, enhanced Member facilities, a heritage center, ticket office and retail shop which will face directly on to Brian Statham Way are the significant changes at Emirates Old Trafford. The stand will enhance the capacity of Emirates Old Trafford to 26,700, making it the largest ground outside of London.

Also included in the development is an add-on of the award-winning Hilton Garden Inn hotel, which opened its doors two years ago at Emirates Old Trafford, due to its success streak.

Brian Statham Way, which runs alongside the ground, will also be re-routed to become a curved road as part of the plans and a terrace bar will be added on to the side of the hotel.

The road diversion of Brian Statham Way to fit in the new stand may itself need to be the subject of a future planning application.

To extend the restaurant, a glazed atrium will come up along with a new six-story building which will get connected to the existing hotel by a walkway. The ground floor of the new structure will comprise shops, and the top five floors will house additional accommodation.

The facelift plans concur with the modification of the suburb, including the Town Hall and the areas in its vicinity, into a new ‘Civic Quarter,’ which covers a 120-acre site taking in the Town Hall, Lancashire Cricket Club, the former Kellogg’s site including the University Academy 92 (UA92) campus, stretching up to the A56/Chester Road and White City retail park.

Erecting a new leisure center, an improvised public sphere, opportunities for new homes and offices, better pedestrian and cycle routes are the Council proposals for the new area. Also in the offing is the possible development of a new public piazza and ‘processional route’ linking Lancashire Cricket Club with Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium.

Daniel Gidney, Chief Executive at Lancashire Cricket, remarked, “We are delighted that the application for further development at Emirates Old Trafford has been approved by the planning committee. The decade-long GBP£60m redevelopment of the ground was so that the Club could host major competitions, and major matches as it has done in 2019 with the ICC Cricket World Cup and Ashes, and will continue to do over the next five years and beyond.”

Gidney further stated, “The new stand and hotel extension will complete the redevelopment of Emirates Old Trafford. We’re committed to making Lancashire Cricket the best it possibly can be and position it as an unrivaled venue for business, sport and leisure. We’re looking forward to the next phase, which will help us to achieve our vision of establishing Lancashire Cricket as the best cricket club in the world. It’s an exciting chapter for both the Club and venue, and also the region. I would also like to thank Chroma and Paul Butler Associates for their assistance throughout the process.”

The plans will also involve the felling of three trees, but a number of trees will be planted in their place – something which allayed few members’ fear as regards the environmental impact of the plans.

A number of councilors, including Coun Mike Cordingley (Labour), who represents Gorse Hill Ward where Lancashire Cricket Club’s ground sits, spoke in favor of the plans.

Though he was worried about potential concert noise being bounced off the new sections of the stadium in the direction of Stretford, Coun Cordingley stated, “I very much support this application. I welcome the design, I think the design is really, really attractive. I’m quite happy with that side of it.”

He further stated, “I’m quite happy with the hotel, it could be a nicer design but that’s what they do these days. I propose we accept it and I welcome it and it’s only the acoustics that I have a real concern over.”

Councilors agreed that the design of the hotel had a basic design that “could have been done better” – but they appreciated the fact that it was cost-driven to save money for developers.

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