Trafford Council's planning committee has approved the application to redevelop Old Trafford cricket ground and the surrounding area.
The Old Trafford Partnership, made up of Lancashire County Cricket Club, Ask Developments and Tesco, welcomed the decision as it attempts to keep international cricket in Trafford. The decision means that, subject to formal approval by Government Office North West, preparation work can begin on the redevelopment of the ground, with construction work set to start in the autumn.
Without substantial redevelopment, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had confirmed that after this year’s Test Match against Bangladesh there would be no more international cricket at Old Trafford. If Old Trafford is to remain an international venue, construction work must start in 2010 to meet strict deadlines set by the game’s governing body.
The Old Trafford proposals are part of an innovative sports-led regeneration strategy for a 50-acre mixed use neighbourhood. The plans include a Tesco store with approximately 94,000 sq ft retail sales floorspace providing a much needed local store and over 500 jobs, half of which would be guaranteed for the local long-term unemployed. In advance of the planning meeting, the size of food retail space in the store was reduced by 6,000 sq ft on the request of Tesco.
LCCC Chief Executive Jim Cumbes said; “This is an historic decision for the future of international cricket in the North West – we can now press on with redeveloping the famous Old Trafford cricket ground and securing our place as one of the world’s best cricketing arenas.
“The planning committee recognised the important role the club plays in supporting Trafford’s economy – especially through hosting international matches like the Ashes. They also backed our plans to deliver a much-needed new retail offering, hundreds of local jobs, and millions of pounds in regeneration to this part of the borough.
“With construction work now scheduled to start in the autumn, I would personally like to thank everyone who has backed our proposals. We have been overwhelmed by the level of support and encouragement we have received.”
Trafford Council confirmed that as of Thursday 28th January it had received 947 letters of support for the proposals to redevelop Old Trafford cricket ground, build a new Tesco store on Chester Road, and regenerate this part of the borough - with 156 letters coming from Trafford residents and businesses. This compares to 263 objections in total from all UK addresses (155 from Trafford).
This high level of support was backed up by figures released by the Old Trafford Partnership showing that their campaign to keep international cricket at Old Trafford had received 3,721 online pledges of support. A supportive petition with 341 local signatures was also been submitted by the Gorse Hill Community Action Group.
Letters of support have been sent to Trafford Council from MIDAS (Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency), Visit Manchester, Marketing Manchester, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Manchester Hoteliers’ Association, Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs, MediaCityUK, Trafford College, Lancashire Cricket Board and International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body of world cricket, as well as many residents.
Research conducted for Yorkshire Forward and Yorkshire County Cricket Club into the 2009 Ashes Test Match demonstrated that Leeds benefited by over £1.2 million per day during August’s Headingley Ashes Test Match. During the three days of the test over 32,000 additional people visited the city, accounting for around £3.7 million additional spend in the local economy. If the Test Match had run for the full five days, the figure would have been nearer £6 million.
The development alone will bring investment of at least £70 million into parts of Trafford which suffer from low levels of economic activity and employment.