The MCC Committee has today issued a recommendation to proceed with development at Lord's Cricket Ground by adopting the MCC Updated Masterplan, funded from the Club’s own resources.
The recommendation has been made following very clear feedback from MCC Members as part of a wide consultation exercise and clear advice from the Club’s Principal committees. As a result, the Club’s Members will be asked to approve a Resolution at a Special General Meeting, to be held on Wednesday 27 September, effectively ruling out the building of residential flats at the Nursery End of Lord's.
The Committee recommends that the next ground development project at the Home of Cricket will be the replacement of the Compton and Edrich Stands, with work set to begin in late 2019. MCC’s 18,000 Members will be asked to approve this and each component part of the Updated Masterplan, as it evolves, and once planning permission has been granted by Westminster City Council.
After the completion of the first stage of the MCC Masterplan earlier this year, which resulted in the opening of a new £25m Warner Stand, the replacement of the Compton and Edrich Stands – projected to be completed in June 2021 – would lead to an increase in the Ground's capacity, improved facilities and better circulation for spectators.
The Committee’s decision follows a two-year process which involved one of the biggest pieces of analysis ever conducted by the Club and a significant consultation exercise which resulted in Members voicing an overwhelming opinion that residential development should not be considered at Lord's.
The Committee has assessed the results of the thousands of hours of analysis, involving advice from nine independent specialist consultants – including BDO, who independently reviewed the Club’s cash-flow forecasts – two sets of lawyers, five Principal committees and an Editorial Board.
Five MCC Members’ consultation meetings were held at Lord’s and around the country in June, and there were 4,710 responses in total to the survey which accompanied the Club’s Review, in which Members were asked to examine two development options – the MCC Updated Masterplan or Rifkind Associates’ (RA) Morley Plan – and to express their opinion on what the Club's priorities for the future of Lord's should be.
In addition to the answers to twelve specific questions, among the nearly 2,000 Members who took the opportunity to express views in their own words, those in favour of the Masterplan and/or against RA’s Morley Plan outnumbered those favourable to the residential option by more than ten to one. Support for the Club’s Masterplan over the Morley Plan, even in a “one Test a year” scenario was also significant.
MCC Chairman, Gerald Corbett, has written to the Club's membership to outline the next stage of the process. He said:
"Today's decision by the MCC Committee provides clarity on the extremely important and often controversial subject of Ground development. Put simply, the Club can afford to develop the Ground using its own resources and it will do so in the coming years without the need for enabling residential development.
“The Morley scheme, with flats at its heart, was considered by the Committee to detract from the ambience and special feel of Lord’s, as well containing a number of operational, security, execution and planning risks. Moreover the Club’s advisers were unable to recommend the proposed commercial terms.
Today's decision by the MCC Committee provides clarity
“Although the Morley scheme offers a potential cash windfall, and the opportunity to acquire the leasehold land, the Committee considered the flats and the effect on the grounds character too big a price to pay and risk to take. The Committee also considered the advice of its five Principal sub-committees, who all recommended to implement the Club’s Updated Masterplan and to reject flats and the Morley scheme.
“Being new to the Committee - and this issue - two years ago, I have had the opportunity to ask questions, to get into the detail and to listen to the full range of opinion as to what is best for the future of Lord's. The consultation events and survey responses are unequivocal - Members do not want flats at Lord's and they want MCC to continue Ground development through its own finances.
“The programme for the next stage will be voted on by Members in September and then the Club can put this issue to bed by ensuring that developments at Lord’s are based on retaining the unique character of the Ground, are cricket-led and operationally feasible and provide the best possible experience for players and spectators.
“All Members have been consulted. Many have spoken. The Committee has decided. The Club will now vote and we will then move on.”
The Updated MCC Masterplan sets out to provide better facilities for spectators and improved circulation for them around the Ground. There will be more back-of-house facilities underground, a slightly larger Nursery Ground, which will not be impaired by overbearing development, and the unique atmosphere and the “look and feel” of Lord’s will be maintained and enhanced.
About the Review of Development Plans Members’ Survey
Faced with a choice between the Updated Masterplan and Rifkind Associates’ Morley Plan, MCC Members have a clear preference for the Masterplan:
* The overwhelming majority of Members – 95% – consider it very important that MCC maintains the special “feel” of Lord’s, with many comments clearly implying that residential accommodation would harm the character of the Ground;
* Two-thirds of Members give a high priority to MCC developing Lord’s from its own resources (compared to less than a quarter saying the same about obtaining RA’s funding);
* Even in a scenario where MCC only hosts one Test p/a rather than its usual two, a third of Members say they would be more inclined to the Updated Masterplan (on top of the 53% whose support for the Updated Masterplan would remain unchanged) whereas just 14% state they would be more inclined to RA’s Morley Plan.
The full analysis of the survey can be accessed below.
About the Review of Development Plans for Lord’s
Since the approval of a Resolution to produce a Review of Development Plans for Lord’s was approved by MCC Members, in May 2015, a very detailed examination on the options for the future of the Home of Cricket was conducted. The total cost of this project has been around £500,000.
About the Special General Meeting
MCC will be asked to vote on a Resolution at a Special General Meeting, which will be held at the Emmanuel Centre, London SW1 on Wednesday 27 September 2017 at 6pm If approved, the Resolution will be followed by the launch of a tender competition to appoint architects for the replacement of the Compton and Edrich Stands. As part of MCC’s obligations to the England and Wales Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council, no redevelopment of any stands will take place at Lord’s until the completion of the 2019 cricket season, which includes an Ashes Series and the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Timeline of the Updated MCC Masterplan
- 2019-21: new Compton and Edrich stands with up to 2,000 extra seats built. The new stands would not go above the J.P. Morgan Media Centre, which is a building of merit and likely to be listed, but will leave space around it.
- 2021-22: new East Gate Building (first phase).
- 2023-25: East Gate Building (second phase), including goods entrance, car park, shop, hospitality facilities and ECB offices.
- 2025-26: demolition of the Nursery Pavilion and extension of the Nursery Ground playing area up to the Wellington Road. The Nursery Ground would be slightly larger than at present.
- 2027-30: construction of the South-Western Project, principally including the redevelopment of the Tavern and Allen Stands and Lord’s Tavern.
- 2031-32: new facilities for groundsmen and ticket office staff would be built at the North Gate.