The costly internal disputes that have delayed a £400 million redevelopment at Lord’s come to a head today when MCC will debate a fresh plan that could change the northwest London skyline.
Members at the home of cricket have been split since the Vision for Lord’s was first revealed two years ago. It ran into immediate trouble when senior committee members were critical of the plans, even though these found favour with Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister.
Now a fresh but less expensive redesign of the original Vision — resulting in MCC receiving less than the originally projected £100 million — will be debated today by the main 18-member committee, which faces three options: adopt one of the two schemes, or vote to do nothing.
The Times, which first reported on the initial Vision for Lord’s, can reveal artists’ impressions today for the revised Nursery End plan, which has been drawn up by Almacantar, the developer.
The designs include plans for luxury flats housed inside four diamondshaped towers, the tallest of which is 16 storeys high and dominating the view for members at the Pavilion End.
The architects claim the towers are designed so as not to throw shadows across the ground. There are also plans for a semi-circular colonnade, a new indoor academy, two new entrances and car parking being created in the disused railway tunnels under Lord’s.
The original Vision was stymied in February when Oliver Stocken, the MCC chairman, and Justin Dowley, the treasurer, threatened to resign if the plans, including a futuristic undercroft, went ahead. They remained in office and the development committee that included Major was disbanded.
Keith Bradshaw, the outgoing secretary and chief executive, said his biggest regret was not having completed the redevelopment of the great ground.
The wavering by MCC has resulted in professional fees of up to £4 million for lawyers and architects accrued over the past four years. The benefits for MCC of the new proposals are a downsizing in costs and scale.
There will be four residential blocks rather than a planned five while the heightening of the Compton and Edrich stands has been shelved. The club, which is expected to be back in profit this year, will not have the expense of kitting out the undercroft — that would have incorporated the indoor academy, kitchens and offices.
MCC will be able to rebuild five stands piecemeal after the Vision for Lord’s proposal by Herzog & de Meuron, the architects, who drew up the original plans. This could increase capacity from 28,000 to 33,000, but is far short of what was first expected, closer to 40,000.