Cow Corner

Lord’s capacity to be increased by 100 seats – at cost of £21m

The MCC is planning to revamp the Warner Stand at Lord’s cricket ground – but the £21m redevelopment is only set to add 100 seats to the venue.

A planning application was submitted to Westminster City Council on Friday, which outlined the first stage of the MCC’s ‘Masterplan for Lord’s’ which will end up costing around £200m over the next decade-and-a-half.

This initial phase is a redevelopment of the Warner Stand, which currently holds 2,800 fans. It will now hold 2,900.

The MCC’s justification for the spend of £210,000 per seat is that sightlines would be ‘vastly improved’, with 600 of these seats currently impaired by a Grandstand that was built in 1998.

Including the new seats, this still translates as a cost of £30,000 per fan, which seems absurdly inflated until you realise who sits there – MCC members, their families and friends.

The MCC said in a statement: “The Warner Stand is being developed first for three principal reasons. First to improve viewing for MCC members and their friends; secondly because of the need drastically to improve the match control and officials’ facilities; thirdly because it is in the most constrained corner of the ground, and MCC must build out from it.

"As such, the relatively small capacity increase is simply a welcome by-product of improving the facilities and spectator experience.”

The proposed wider Lord’s development – which the MCC hopes to have mostly completed in time for the 2019 World Cup – should see the Pavilion End also redeveloped with new Allen and Tavern Stands.

Long-term there should be new Compton and Edrich stands by 2027, with a new eating and drinking area, underground subway system to reduce foot traffic, and state-of-the-art technical facilities also put in place.

The project has been moving slowly for a number of years now, with some members and external groups opposing elements of the redevelopment.

But in October, the MCC members rejected a resolution to appoint an independent inquiry into the processes, finance and government of the redevelopment project.

Additionally, the MCC’s decision to separate the process into phases means planning applications will be made for each specific element of the development – reducing the impact if one proposal is rejected or delayed.