Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s ground at Edgbaston is one of the most famous locations in Birmingham and an important advertisement for the city.
But it is unlikely the facilities live up to the expectations of every visitor.
The stadium is a century old, and it’s no exaggeration to say existing pavilions could be described as shabby.
There is also a clear need to erect permanent floodlights, so that the venue is capable of hosting high profile events such as the 2019 world cup. But Warwickshire CCC faces one major obstacle, which is that the ground is slap bang in the middle of a residential area.
It’s not the only major sports ground to face this challenge, but that doesn’t make it any easier. The club needs somehow to balance its need to expand and develop with the legitimate concerns of residents who want to preserve the environment they live in.
As a result, the club has attempted to tread softly and foster good relations with residents as best it can. That is no easy task, particularly when some properties may be subject to compulsory purchase orders.
Birmingham council has backed the purchase plans, arguing they are essential to the city’s regeneration hopes.
The Edgbaston venue has an importance even beyond its status as an international sporting icon, potentially providing significant economic benefits to Birmingham, particularly if plans for office space, a hotel and residential developments go ahead.
It needs to go ahead. The challenge for the club, and supporters of the expansion plans on the council, is not to win a battle against angry residents. It is to ensure their proposals are able to proceed while protecting the interests of local people, and winning their backing, as much as possible.