Leicestershire County Cricket Club has announced ‘ambitious’ plans to redevelop its Uptonsteel County Ground, at a cost of £60m.
Plans being discussed by management, include transforming the existing Grace Road stadium and creating homes, healthcare and retail units for the surrounding community, in a bid to bring in new revenue.
The club is currently in talks with a number of interested stakeholders who are eager to get the plans up and running and a local residents’ group has been formed. The group has attended an initial forum to ensure those who live nearby can be fully involved in the process.
“We need to generate new revenue streams if we wish for the club to develop, and the progression of these plans will not only guarantee a bright future for the club, but also for the local community who will benefit hugely from this investment,” said Sean Jarvis, CEO of Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
Mr Jarvis said the club had always enjoyed developing cricketing talent on the pitch but it wanted to replicate this off the pitch.
He added that an ‘Academy of Cricket’ campus would create opportunities for those wanting a career in the wider cricket environment.
It would offer a range of academic activities, including a degree in cricket management.
“We have already held explorative talks with several higher education providers in the region and their feedback has been very encouraging,” revealed Mr Jarvis.
Mark Lewis, from Loughborough University, has welcomed the plans.
“The potential of an academic offering in partnership with higher education providers such as Loughborough University will be an attractive and exciting proposition,” he said.
Also welcoming the plans, is Peter Soulsby, the mayor of Leicester, who said they would bring wider benefits to the local community.
He said the academic programmes had the potential to put Leicestershire on the international stage, adding: “Leicester is rightly proud of its sporting institutions. Our city has already benefited from the Tigers’ redevelopment of their Welford Road site, and we are looking forward to LCCC taking forward their ambitious plans very soon.”
The plans have also received the backing of supporters with John Stew, Chairman & Secretary of Friends of Grace Road, a volunteer-run supporters club, saying: “This is exciting news, and we look forward to being involved in the process to make our club financially sustainable. This could create a real legacy for Leicestershire County Cricket Club and hopefully inspire greater success on the field.”