Plans for a £30?million makeover of Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s ground have been overwhelmingly condemned by residents.
More than 100 people gathered at the Edgbaston ground for a public meeting to discuss development plans, which the club claims is vital to retain the stadium’s future as an international venue.
But residents, community groups and councillors slammed the proposed development in a two-hour meeting held by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee.
The plans include a new stand and five permanent 150-ft high floodlights along with bars, restaurants and a hotel and, if approved, the proposals would see the capacity at the world-famous venue increase to more than 25,000.
The meeting was staged to gauge public opinion before the committee decides on whether to endorse the plans in a final meeting next Wednesday.
Alexandros Lalos, who lives in one of 12 homes that may be demolished to make way for the new development, vowed to defend his home from a Compulsory Purchase Order.
The 33-year-old, who rents his semi-detached home on Pershore Road from the cricket club, said he was willing “to fight all the way” to ensure the development does not go ahead.
“I am fully prepared to go all the way,” he said. “I do not want to leave this house, I want this to be where I raise my children. I am fully prepared to fight all the way as these buildings cannot be demolished, they have history.”
The proposed new stand would provide improved player facilities, such as new changing rooms, along with enhanced corporate hospitality space to provide a new banqueting facility for the city.
But many residents who attended the meeting said an increase in capacity would have a direct impact on their lives on match days.
Ben Amin, who lives close to the ground, said he thought the ground needed to be modernised, but “within reason”.
“It is a shame that nobody has taken into consideration what we feel,” he said. “I have been late for work because people have parked a coach outside my house, then there is the litter you have to pick up after matches. We have to get bin liners to pick up all the empty beer cans.”
Angela Dabrowski, who lives on Harbury Road behind the ground, said light emitting from floodlights made it hard to concentrate.
She said: “Initially it’s like moonlight, which at first is attractive but gradually as the games progress it is quite sickly and unpleasant.
“It really is an intrusive light, which affects people’s leisure in the area.”
Councillor Deirdre Alden said congestion on the surrounding streets would become “much worse” should the expansion plans be approved.
“The fact is that whenever there is a major match, we councillors get complaints about the congestion,” she said.
“There is not enough parking here at the moment, and there are not plans for a lot more, but there will be a hotel, more people living here and an office development. That will mean a lot of extra cars.”
But Khadim Hussain, from Northfield, said he thought the plans would be good for the local economy.
“Birmingham is the Second City and we should have a world-class cricket venue in Bimingham,” he said.