The South-Western Project is the single largest phase of the Masterplan to redevelop Lord’s. Please find below some Frequently Asked Questions on the project.
The New Stand
Why is the “Allen” end of the stand uncovered?
The part of the stand closest to the Pavilion has to be sufficiently subservient to the Grade II*-listed building. Putting a roof on the current design would make it too high; building it lower so it could have a roof would impact on the number of seats that can be provided.
In fact, MCC is currently contemplating making the seats above the scoreboard telescopic – up for matches but down on other days, in order to preserve a gap between the Pavilion and the highest part of the new stand.
Why does the scoreboard have to be where it is?
Various scoreboard locations were considered, including under the roof above the top terrace and above the roof on the floodlight mast – both of which were rejected for planning reasons.
The location, in the design is similar to the current location which works well and minimises the number of seats that would be lost – because, as is explained above, the part of the stand closest to the Pavilion already has to be smaller than the rest of the building.
Will there still be a bridge link to the Pavilion?
Yes and it will be at the same level as currently, but will be set back towards the Harris Garden, first because the dressing rooms are increasing in size and secondly so it no longer penetrates the Pavilion’s terracotta wall.
Why is a seat row depth of 850mm proposed in the new Tavern and Allen Stand when Members have voted in favour of 900mm in the Warner?
MCC ran a series of Members’ Focus Groups on the SWP last summer and the feedback from them was it was worth the case for 850mm to be presented to the membership, principally because of the difference in capacity compared to 900mm.
A survey of a Representative Panel of Members confirmed this – 70% said the Committee should present the case for a sub-900mm seat row depth if it thought it could provide a good level of comfort.
The Committee believes the SWP presents an invaluable opportunity to increase capacity for Members and their guests. A seat row depth of 850mm will provide 330 more seats than one of 900mm. With the increase of seat width and of the rake of the stand, the Committee is confident that Members’ comfort will not be compromised.
What about people with mobility issues?
There will be lifts in the stand. There will also be amenity seating – i.e. those with more leg room, more width, or both, for people with mobility issues. Amenity seating will comprise 3% of the overall capacity. A further 1% of the overall capacity will be provided for wheelchair users and their carers.
Will there still be MCC Members-only seating?
Yes. The proposed provision is for c.620 Members-only seats at the “Allen” end of the new stand. In the existing Allen Stand, there are 314 seats in the upper section (a Members-only area on major match days) and 617 seats in the stand as a whole (a Members-only area for the Australia Test). The new stand is being designed in such a way as to allow similarly flexible arrangements – it will simply be a case of where the Club decides to partition the area.
Why are there two restaurants in the new stand – aren’t they taking up space that could be given over to seating?
First, there are two restaurants in the stand because MCC is confident they will be popular both on match days – when restaurants are oversubscribed – and on non-match days, when their pitch-facing views will make them popular both as restaurants and event venues. It is envisaged that the restaurant on the top tier will be open all year round, providing a new high-quality restaurant in St John’s Wood for Members and the public alike to enjoy.
Along with the two open-air concourse bars, the restaurants will enable a variety of catering options to be provided within the stand.
Secondly, restaurants occupy space at the rear of each tier which cannot be used for seats – as the tiers slope up, head room diminishes. Very few extra seats could have been accommodated.
Will there be debenture seats?
This has not been decided. The stand design will be the same whether or not debentures are sold. That will be for Members to decide at a later date.
Will there still be a Middlesex Room?
Yes, there will still be an enclosed bar, next to the Pavilion, from which people can watch the cricket. It will be underneath the scoreboard.
Is anything going to happen to Father Time?
No, he will stay where he is – he will rise above both the new stand and the existing Mound stand. MCC will ensure he can be seen from the Pavilion and still can act as a weather vane.
Didn’t the on the Warner Stand seat row depth at the 2014 AGM bind the Committee to providing 900mm seating for all new stands?
No. The resolution did not bind the Committee to a 900mm seat row depth for future stands.
The Committee is still advocating a seat row depth of 850mm because it believes it will provide excellent levels of comfort and valuable extra seats, and it received a mandate from the Representative Panel to present the case.
What is the projected incremental profit from the new stand?
Building facilities that can be used year-round rather than just for matches is a key consideration of the ground development at Lord’s.
Current projections are that the new stand will make in the realm of £1.5m p/a in incremental profit compared to the existing stand.
It will be more profitable on match day because of the greater number of catering facilities; and on non-match days the aspiration is that the spaces marked as restaurants and boxes overlooking the Ground will be hired out for a variety of different functions, for which the Club has plenty of demand.
What happened to the bookends / ”Batsmen’s Bar”?
Putting a building up against the Pavilion in the south, to mirror the Bowlers’ Annexe in the north, was rejected because it was felt there was architectural merit in preserving the gap between the Pavilion and the new stand.
Will Members’ areas in the Pavilion be affected?
The only Members’ areas affected by the expansion of players’, officials’ and team management areas in the Pavilion will be the Members’ Lounge and the Ladies Toilets on the first floor.
The toilets will be moved upstairs, taking up some of the current Members’ Lounge. An additional Members’ Lounge will be provided in the new stand, over the bridge link, looking out to the Harris Garden.
Will you be replacing the Pavilion benches?
Any decision made on the Pavilion benches will be separate from this project. A trial introducing padding for the benches was run last year, with mixed reaction from the Members. This trial will continue throughout 2015, in the hope of gaining more clarity.
Grace Gates/Tavern Pub/Harris Garden
Will I still be able to drive through the Grace Gates to park in Number 6 car park?
Yes, with the exception of match days.
Will people still be able to access the Tavern on a match day?
They will on a minor match day, but not on a major match day.
Won’t having decorative gates either side of the Grace Gates bring security problems/enable tickets to be recycled?
There are great advantages to making the walls and area about the Grace Gates more “permeable”; it should give Lord’s the welcoming and iconic front door it deserves and allow more people to enjoy the Ground.
However maintaining high security is paramount, and a key consideration for the architects who are working closely with MCC’s Ground Superintendent to establish how this area of the Ground will be managed.
Given the proposed increase in capacity, will the circulation be improved?
The proposed capacity increase is 26%; circulation space behind the stand will be increased by 40% because of a small ground-level footprint of both the stand and Thomas Lord Building.
In addition, because more catering outlets, bars and WCs are being provided inside the stand, the need for people to leave it is reduced. Of course, many Members will still choose to leave the stand during the day, but they will now have a choice. Circulation should therefore, be improved on two levels.
Will there be scope for scanning membership passes?
Members of last summer’s focus groups expressed a desire for scanning their membership passes at turnstiles rather than ripping out stubs to speed up entry to the Ground.
The new turnstiles will have this facility.
How much is it going to cost?
The current budget for this project is approaching £80 million, with some £46 million of this figure allocated as costs for its first phase – the new stand and basement.
The original costs for the SWP in the Masterplan were £55 million, however:
- The basement in this project has been significantly increased in size (bringing substantial operational benefits) which will allow MCC to build a smaller/less expensive basement under the East Gate building in a future phase of the Masterplan.
- The original Masterplan phase did not include a Harris Garden Building – this has been “borrowed” from the original phase to develop the Memorial Building.
- It was initially envisaged this project could be completed by 2019. However the year’s delay in the construction of the Warner Stand (due to the need to have a fully functioning stand for this year’s Australia Test) made it impossible to start work on the SWP in 2016 – there would have been an overlap which would have a negative impact on operations. The SWP therefore has been split into two phases, and the second phase is accordingly adversely affected by construction inflation, which is currently running at about 5-6%.
How will it be funded?
Funding for the project will come from a number of sources, including: operating cash flow; renewal of existing debentures; and new funding from the incremental capacity and facilities being created.
Grove End Road
What happened to the idea to develop the entrance on Grove End Road?
Developing the entrance on Grove End Road (to make it a more significant pedestrian entrance) was earmarked as the second phase of the Masterplan in 2013.
However, because of the potential for this entrance – which is on a more residential street than St John’s Wood Road – to attract a much greater number of visitors, it raised some possible neighbourly issues.
Instead it was decided to prioritise improving and increasing Members’ pitch-facing facilities at the Pavilion End in the earliest phases of the Masterplan.
The Grove End Road entrance has not be totally rejected, rather pushed down the batting order for now.