Talks between Derbyshire County Cricket Club and Derby City Council regarding potential redevelopment of the County Ground, Derby, are ongoing and the Club will meet Council officials in two week’s time.
The Club has been granted £1.7 million in England & Wales Cricket Board funding which is ring-fenced for ground development and the aspiration is to create a stunning outdoor amphitheatre capable of hosting international cricket, concerts and other community events.
Chief Executive Simon Storey confirmed the Club is assessing all viable options and expressed the importance of City Council support for the vision to become a reality in the city of Derby.
He said: “We have to increase the playing budget to increase the probability of competing with the bigger counties, otherwise we will always be fighting above our weight and that’s a really tough job to do.
“Our challenge is to compete at the highest level and bring trophies to Derbyshire and to do that we either have to increase the money we can bring in or reduce our costs.
“We are exploring a number of options with the City Council, who are our landlords and our planning authority, and we will meet again within the next two weeks.
“Given the budget pressure on the City Council, it is clearly not an easy challenge for them but we believe county cricket is worth millions of pounds to the local economy every year.
“The city is to have fantastic new facilities with the velodrome and the Olympic swimming pool but we are also an integral part of the region and have proved capable of hosting England Lions, tourist and women’s international matches.
“This is not the Cricket Club asking for a hand-out, this is us taking our responsibility seriously by saying we will build a venue that will be great for the community and put Derbyshire on the map from a playing perspective.”
Chairman Chris Grant provided further information on the Club’s alternative development options.
He said: “If another local authority in Derbyshire is prepared to offer more significant investment, we would be daft not to explore it and we have held initial discussions with representatives of Chesterfield Borough Council and South Derbyshire District Council.
“If we move, we’re not talking about a move to the middle of nowhere. We have a stronghold of support in the Chesterfield region, while South Derbyshire borders the city of Derby and would be very accessible to supporters via the A38 and A50.
“When Derby County FC moved to Pride Park, it was transformational for them and their attendances doubled. And – in cricket - Hampshire’s attendances shot up significantly after their move to the Rose Bowl.
“We are absolutely serious about considering all viable options and have produced a 50 page board paper on feasibility.
“We will do the right thing for the best interests of the Club, our members and the county of Derbyshire.”
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