Warwickshire County Cricket Club has admitted it may be forced to change some aspects of a controversial £32 million makeover of the Edgbaston ground in order to address the concerns of people living nearby.
Chief executive Colin Povey said he was looking at “sensible modifications” to cut traffic chaos during big matches and to reduce the intensity of the scheme.
He was speaking after Birmingham City Council planners refused to approve proposals for new stands to increase capacity by 4,000, floodlights, improved media and hospitality facilities and 250 flats and houses, hotels, shops and offices on adjoining land.
Planning committee members deferred a decision on Wednesday after being told about a storm of protest from local groups and councillors.
Representatives from community organisations accused the club of behaving arrogantly by trying to force through an over-intensive development that would cause more noise and traffic problems in the area when major matches are taking place.
Mr Povey and the club’s architects will meet senior council planning officials next week in an attempt to negotiate a way forward.
The club has warned that failure to get approval quickly for ground improvements could result in Edgbaston losing its Test match status – depriving the city economy of millions of pounds.
Mr Povey described the objectors as a “small, vocal minority who clearly don’t want this in their back garden”, but said he could understand the concerns of people who lived very close to the ground.
He said the club had already accepted “onerous conditions” imposed by the council, restricting the number of times floodlights could be used during a year.
He warned that the ground improvements could not go ahead without the housing, offices and hotels, which will contribute a third of the project’s total cost.
Mr Povey added: “The ground is only full four or five days a year and there is disruption for residents. That is a fact of life.
“If you live near the Villa or the Blues or any major sporting venue it is an unfortunate effect of hosting these sorts of games. Floodlighting will only be used for no more than 15 days a year and only for cricket. We are doing our very best to minimise the impact.
“If someone thinks we can host these big games with no disruption whatsoever, it is not realistic.”
He went on: “If we don’t get facilities like the lights, better media facilities, replay screens, hospitality packages and the rest, Edgbaston will not be able to host the sort of games it has been hosting for 100 years.
“The benefits far outweigh the disruption, but I accept residents living close to the ground have legitimate concerns.”
Edgbaston Conservative councillor Deirdre Alden said: “There would be very little extra parking for all of this new development, and the extra number of people accessing the area would surely cause great congestion and parking problems.”