MCC announce Lord's revamp
Lord’s is set for a multi-million pound facelift after Marylebone Cricket Club members gave backing to redevelop their world-famous ground.
Following consultation with their 18,000 full members, MCC have drawn up proposals for a new-look venue as the first step in the process and are now seeking to engage an architect for the long-term project, which is expected to cost around £200million.
Eighteen renowned architects from around the globe have been given the chance to present their vision for the St John’s Wood site.
The transformation will include the redevelopment of five stands - the Victorian pavilion is a listed building - over the next decade.
The venture also includes potential for a hotel, retractable floodlights, a new academy, and repositioning of the museum.
“We have recently completed the analysis of the research we carried out amongst MCC members on their priorities and preferences for the future of Lord’s,” said MCC’s masterplan project director David Batts.
“The findings will be made public shortly. Nearly half of MCC’s membership responded and there was overwhelming backing to support the improvement of Lord’s for future generations of cricketers, cricket fans and of course members.
“To achieve this we are in the process of appointing a masterplan architect who will be tasked with preparing a development plan which will provide an overall approach to the design and layout for the entire Lord’s site.
“A preliminary brief has been sent out to a number of UK and international practices and a shortlist of architects will be announced in the next few weeks.”
MCC are wary of maintaining the unique atmosphere of Lord’s and as such remain sensitive that the revamp will not cost the ground in character - the tiny Allen Stand has housed spectators since 1935 while the Warner Stand is 50 years old.
Two of the other three proposed to be rebuilt, the Compton and Edrich Stands at the nursery end of the ground, only went up in the 1990s.
Previous cosmetic work at Lord’s has been carried out in piecemeal stages but MCC were encouraged to take a longer-term vision by Westminster Council.
It is anticipated that each stand will take 18 months to construct, thus meaning that overall capacity - which should eventually reach 38,500 - will not be too hard hit.
“The key thing for us to achieve is to increase the capacity without spoiling the atmosphere of Lord’s,” Batts added.
“That will help us satisfy 10,000 more people that we cannot currently accommodate.”
Funding will come from the sale of 2,600 debentures in the Mound Stand and Grandstand - 1,000 remain at a cost of between £8,000 and £12,000 for a seat for eight years - as well as from the expected building of apartments at the nursery end of the site.
Planning permission is expected to take 12 months to be granted and work must commence within five years of that.
Lord’s currently hosts two Test matches a summer and MCC are keen to retain that ratio when the staging agreements are drawn up from 2010 onwards.