The architects behind plans to bring Edgbaston Cricket Ground into the 21st century have been told to bring a little ‘pizazz’ to their designs.
Warwickshire Cricket Club wants to upgrade the ground with new stands, floodlights, corporate hospitality and media to ensure it remains a top international cricket venue.
But following a visit to Edgbaston, Birmingham’s planning committee found the designs a little flat and demanded something more eye-catching.
Director of planning and regeneration Clive Dutton said the upgrade of the world-famous venue is to be welcomed.
But he added: “There is still a chance to improve the design of the stands further. They are better than what is there now, but somehow it lacks a little pizazz.
“We will ask the architects to go a little further and introduce some distinctiveness, a bit more flair.”
The club is investing in the ground’s upgrade at a time when cricket is on the rise, with sell-out crowds for internationals and more interest in the 20/20 game. There are also more matches requiring floodlights and until now the club has had to use temporary lights.
It was a view echoed by Coun Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End) who warned that Birmingham could not afford to lose Test match and international cricket.
He said that Sport England surveys showed that apart from the London Marathon, Test match cricket was a bigger money-spinner for a host city economy than any other sporting event.
“The competition to host international cricket is fierce and we should do all we can to ensure Edgbaston remains a venue. To lose it would be unthinkable,” he said.
He backed the call for a fresh look at the design. “For many people around the world, Test match cricket on television might be the only view they have of Birmingham and at present that view looks third rate.”
The committee, which was asked for its views on the development before a formal planning application is submitted, said that residents surrounding the ground need to be fully consulted.
Chairman Coun Peter Douglas Osborn (Con, Weoley) said the club should do all it can to ensure the proposed 150ft floodlights are of the highest quality cutting potential light pollution.