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New Sussex cricket ground plans unveiled
Enjoying cricket from the comfort of a deckchair will remain a pleasure in Sussex after the club's new chief executive revealed scaled-back plans for its historical home.
Dave Brooks, who took on the top job in January, said the revised scheme for the County Ground in Eaton Road, Hove, meant it would remain a traditional setting for the county game and not a modern-day stadium.
The £8 million plan will see the see the existing pavilion enlarged and the run-down Gilligan Stand demolished and replaced with a building incorporating changing facilities, physiotherapy rooms and a gym, with spectator seating on top.
A 1,500 capacity two-storey uncovered stand will replace the existing seats in the south-west corner containing retail and food outlets, offices and a club museum at ground level.
The existing players’ dressing rooms will become a new corporate area while the hospitality marquees in the south-east corner will be replaced by permanent structures.
The grass bank and deckchairs at the Cromwell Road end will stay and capacity will remain at about 7,000.
Mr Brooks said: “We are trying to build a seaside country cricket ground, not a stadium. We will not be staging one-day internationals or test matches.
“We will not be getting rid of the deck chairs on the grass banks because they are unique to Sussex. I would have liked to have kept the marquees but according to the members I have spoken to they can be a nightmare when it is windy.
“I was at the Oval and they have a huge stand which looks great there. But it would be an abomination in Hove.
“It is not about money but doing what fits best with our ambitions for the county.”
The re-development is being funded through a £10.6 million legacy from former vice-president Spen Cama.
Original plans to use the money to fund a huge redevelopment of the ground, including a five-storey stand, offices, flats, a restaurant and conference centre provoked the ire of neighbours and council planning officials.
The latest scheme was unveiled at the club's AGM. Over the next two weeks Mr Brooks will meet with nearby residents to discuss the plans, which will go out for public consultation in May.
If planning permission is granted, it is hoped work on a phased development will start this year and finished by the 2012 season.
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