MCC to stick with scaled down redevelopment plan for Lord's

The ‘Vision for Lord’s’ plan was originally conceived at a cost of 400 million ($634 million) in 2007 Getty Images

London: Feb 9, 2012

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said on Thursday it would be standing by the scaled down redevelopment plan for Lord’s which led former British Prime Minister John Major to resign from the club’s committee.

Major, in an unusually public dispute which has seen several members of English cricket’s establishment engaged in a bitter row, quit in November after MCC, which owns the ‘home of cricket’, announced it was scaling back its ‘Vision for Lord’s’ plan, originally conceived at a cost of 400 million ($634 million) in 2007.

This aimed to increase the ground’s 28,500 capacity on the back of a programme of luxury flats built at the Nursery End of the ground in north-west London and was supported by the Australian former MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw, who now holds a similar post at the South Australian Cricket Association.

Instead the new scheme will see a more modest ‘stand by stand’ redevelopment.

And in a statement MCC said a committee meeting Wednesday had reaffirmed its November decision to focus on developing Lord’s on the club’s freehold land only, and with its own resources.

Last week property developers Almacantar put a revised offer to the committee to proceed with residential development of 275,000 square feet on the club’s leasehold land at the Wellington Road end of Lord’s.

“This offer, subject to a number of conditions, including a satisfactory planning consent, amounted to 100 million in cash and a contribution of 10 million towards supporting young cricketers,” an MCC statement said Thursday.

MCC chairman Oliver Stocken added: “The committee has confidence in the club’s ability to self-fund a redevelopment scheme on MCC’s freehold land, and to continue to invest large sums in youth cricket at home and abroad.

“It believes this is the best way to ensure Lord’s maintains and enhances its reputation as the pre-eminent cricket ground in the world and for MCC to demonstrate its commitment to all levels of the game.”

The committee’s plan will be put before what promises to be a lively MCC annual general meeting at Lord’s on May 2.

It is more than 40 years since MCC ceased to run English cricket but it maintains worldwide responsibility for the laws of the game. (AFP)