Birmingham City Council is ready to use legal powers to force owners of properties standing in the way of a £30 million refurbishment of the Edgbaston county cricket ground to sell the buildings to developers.
Council lawyers are preparing Compulsory Purchase Orders covering 12 buildings on the Pershore Road side of the famous test match arena. These would allow the properties to be bought by the council, with all costs to be met by the cricket club.
The land could then be cleared in preparation for building a new stand, changing rooms, bars, restaurants and corporate hospitality rooms.
Improvements to Edgbaston have been described as essential by Warwickshire County Cricket Club if the ground is to retain test match status.
The scheme, drawn up by Birmingham development company MCD, would increase the capacity of the ground by 4,000 – to more than 25,000.
A report to the council’s cabinet property committee says there is a “compelling public interest” in ensuring that Edgbaston prospers. The ground is considered a major visitor attraction, bringing immense economic benefit to Birmingham.
Council assistant development director Waheed Nazir said: “Public benefit would outweigh the loss suffered by individual owners, who will receive compensation.”
Not supporting CPOs was likely to jeopardise the redevelopment proposals and the future of test match cricket at Edgbaston, he added.
Most of the 12 property owners had voluntarily agreed to sell, but some were refusing to accept the club’s offer.