Lancashire County Cricket Club and Trafford Council are celebrating a High Court decision to reject the case brought by Bermuda-based Derwent Holdings against the Council's approval of plans to re-develop Old Trafford.
Derwent, owners of the nearby White City non-food retail park, had applied for a Judicial Review of Trafford Council's planning approval of the club's plans - despite the confirmation by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that the £70m investment plans need not be referred to an inquiry.
Matt Colledge, Leader of Trafford Council, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the sports-led regeneration now has the green light to proceed. At each stage of this process the decision making of this Council as local planning authority has been subject to intense scrutiny, and at each stage our committee’s decision has been approved.
"We presented a robust case to the High Court as we were clear that we had followed the correct procedure at every stage. By dismissing this action the Court has paved the way for these ambitious regeneration plans to finally come to life.
“This decision helps support the future of Lancashire County Cricket Club in enabling them to bring their ground up to Test Match standards and therefore giving them a fighting chance of securing the Ashes in 2013. This will not only benefit this Borough in terms of our tourism economy but will also ensure there are first-class sporting facilities for future generations.”
Jim Cumbes, chief executive of Lancashire County Cricket Club and spokesperson for the Old Trafford Partnership, said: "This is a historic moment for Old Trafford, as it will ultimately secure the future of international cricket in Greater Manchester and the North West as well as enabling us to fulfil our promises to local schools and the local community at large.
"This development has undergone every kind of scrutiny and delay possible and we have successfully cleared every hurdle put in front of us. We can now turn our attention to the work that needs doing to enable us to submit our bid for an Ashes Test Match in 2013.
"This decision has brought years of painstaking work to fruition for the Club and gives the go-ahead for our next £32m of investment in new pitches, stands, state- of-the-art player and media facilities and an extension to the ground's indoor cricket school and public areas. Two new grandstands and a refurbished Pavilion will ensure a capacity of 15,000, capable of rising to 25,000 with temporary seating. There will also be floodlights and a screen showing action replays.
"This decision backs the Partnership's 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.
"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."
Alan Burke, director of Ask Developments, said: "We are delighted with this result which paves the way, at last, for the real work to begin. From the point at which this ambitious scheme was conceived many years ago we have been supported by a wide range of the region's economic development and inward investment agencies. This decision is a great result for sport and economic development across not only Trafford and Manchester BUT the wider North West region".
Matthew Magee, Tesco corporate affairs manager, commented: "We're pleased with the decision. It's been a very long and exhaustive process leading to this decision.
"Our new store in Stretford will be a flagship store and bring hundreds of new jobs for Greater Manchester. We're very proud to be part of the development which will help bring Test Match cricket back to the North West."
The development alone will bring investment of at least £70m into parts of Trafford which suffer from low levels of economic activity and employment.