Hopes of retaining Test cricket in Birmingham have been given a major boost with the unveiling of a £30 million scheme to transform Edgbaston cricket ground.
The proposals, which will see capacity at the world-famous venue increased to more than 25,000, follow months of uncertainty as Warwickshire County Cricket Club secured a development partner for the project.
Following consultation with the club’s committee and local Edgbaston residents, the club has announced that it has joined forces with city-based developer MCD to deliver the long-awaited project.
The new stand will provide improved facilities for players and fans, with new changing rooms, bars and restaurants. The enhanced corporate hospitality and events space will provide a new banqueting facility for Birmingham while the changes will increase the capacity of the ground by around 4,000.
Phil Macdonald, operations and development director at WCCC, said: “We have worked hard with our partners to produce a truly innovative design that will reaffirm Edgbaston’s place as a world class venue. The redevelopment of the ground and wider masterplan will benefit the city by creating new jobs and giving Birmingham a stadium to be proud of. This project is a key part of our future plans for the club and our ability to remain competitive when bidding for international matches.”
Despite its legendary heritage as a Test match venue, Edgbaston has come under increasing pressure in recent years as other clubs have made massive investments in their infrastructure with grounds in Durham, Cardiff, Southampton and Bristol all now up to international standard.
At the club’s AGM earlier this year, where a special resolution was passed allowing the club to borrow £20 million towards the cost of the scheme, honorary treasurer Steven Mills warned that the club would have difficulty surviving without Test cricket.
He told the audience at the time: “I put it to you that you don’t have any alternative: you have to address the stadium issue. You don’t have an option. Warwickshire needs a stadium.”
To enhance Edgbaston as a non-cricketing venue on non-match days, the second phase of the Broadway Malyan-designed development programme will see the creation of office and residential elements, a new hotel, public spaces and commercial opportunities.
Developer MCD has a notable track record in the city with schemes such as Brindley House and Derwent Foundry as well as significant experience in the re-development of first class cricket grounds, being behind the £85m regeneration of Essex County Cricket Club.
Steven Byrne, chief executive at MCD, said: “The plans for this project create a landmark stadium that will serve as a hub for a new area to live and work in the city. The breadth of support for the project reflects the pride that exists within Birmingham for its international cricket ground.”
Mike Guy, from Broadway Malyan, said: “We’ve worked extremely closely with the club to ensure that we uphold the traditions of the club and provide for the needs of everybody from the members and players to the written press, VIPs and spectators. We feel we have created a design which gives the ground a tremendous uplift to embrace the requirements of a 21st Century stadium."