MCC has unveiled a £200m masterplan aimed at ensuring Lord’s is the best ground in the world. It will take 14-years to complete and will involve significant rebuilding of various stands as well as underground car parking and routes for service vehicles.
The strategy was overwhelmingly approved at MCC’s annual meeting and will now be put before the 18000 members. It is essentially a diluted version of revolutionary plans originally submitted three years ago which would have involved dramatic and costly rebuilding and split the membership.
Click the image to enlarge the plans
Several key figures, including the former Prime Minister John Major, fell out with the committee. The hope now is that the new strategy, less overtly ambitious but still wide-ranging, will reunite club but still fulfil the aim of keeping Lord’s as a great ground. Both the main ground and the Nursery Ground behind it will stay the same size.
MCC’s President, Mike Griffith, said: “Our key principles – on the absolute need to retain the size of both grounds, on keeping Lord’s as a Ground rather than making it a stadium, on the importance of green open spaces, and on enhancing the experience for every visitor – will underpin all we do. It is advanced work in progress, but can be flexed to reflect changing economic circumstances, technology and research.”
Lord’s is already the most glorious of cricket grounds but MCC, which was long ago dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century having missed a good deal of the 20th, is adamant that it needs to keep pace with rapidly changing times. It intends to give the England and Wales Cricket Board no option but to award the ground two Test matches and two one-day internationals every year.
The first phase of the masterplan will involve the rebuilding of the Warner and Allen Stands at the Pavilion End of the ground and an enlarged museum and library. The Lord’s museum is a vital asset but it is operating at present in cramped quarters which do not show the history of cricket in the best possible light.
MCC has demonstrated it means business by declaring its intent to fund the initial phase with £90m from its own reserves. The second phase which will start after the 2019 World Cup will involve the Nursery End and will require what MCC called “sensible levels of borrowing.”