From left: Denis Compton Stand, Lord   s Media Centre, Bill Edrich Stand    Getty Images
From left: Denis Compton Stand, Lord s Media Centre, Bill Edrich Stand Getty Images

London: Lord’s is set to undergo the largest single development in the current ground’s 203-year history although plans to build residential flats at the ‘home of cricket’ have been rejected. Members of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns the northwest London ground, overwhelmingly backed a committee proposal in favour of the club’s 194 million ($260 million, 221 million euros) ‘Masterplan’ that is set to be completed by 2032.

This will see the Compton and Edrich stands, either side of the Media Centre, at the Nursery End of the ground redeveloped to provide several more thousand seats, expanding overall capacity to some 32,000. A rival proposal from a developer would have seen two blocks of flats built next to the Nursery Ground. But MCC members backed the Masterplan, which will be funded from the club’s own resources, by a mammoth 90.5 percent majority at a special general meeting in London on Wednesday.

MCC chairman Gerald Corbett said: “This is a landmark day for MCC and for the future of Lord’s. “MCC members have made their feelings abundantly clear — they do not want blocks of flats to be built at their ground — and they have backed the committee’s recommendation to pursue the updated Masterplan. “The alternative to the Masterplan would have been a bad deal for the club commercially and a bad deal for the architectural atmosphere and ambience of Lord’s.”

As well as owning Lord’s, MCC also retains worldwide responsibility for cricket’s rules or Laws as they are known, although it is nearly 50 years since it ceased to run English cricket. Founded in 1787, MCC has been based at Lord’s, the third ground known by that name, since its opening in 1814.