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Battle is on to keep Test cricket at Lord's

PUBLISHED: 14:01 07 September 2007 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 September 2010

Study shows how cricket ground boosts economy By Susanna Wilkey LORD S is contributing around £30million a year to the St John s Wood and Marylebone economy thanks to visitors to the historic ground. A study of the Test match between England and the West Indies in May revealed that the game generated

By Susanna Wilkey

LORD'S is contributing around £30million a year to the St John's Wood and Marylebone economy thanks to visitors to the historic ground.

A study of the Test match between England and the West Indies in May revealed that the game generated a whopping £10million for the local economy - the equivalent of 133 to 151 full-time jobs.

And the report by consultancy London Economics on behalf of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), also revealed proposals to increase the ground's capacity by 5,000 would create an additional £3million a year.

The results come as Lord's fights to hang on to its two Tests a year - the current contract runs out in 2009 and other grounds are bidding for the games.

MCC secretary and chief executive Keith Bradshaw said: "I am very pleased with the report - the quality is excellent.

"As well as being the first major economic study of a Test in England for 10 years, it's based on the biggest-ever survey of spectators' spending at a major match.

"It is a very valuable document for us and it underlines and highlights the importance of having these major matches and what it would mean if we lost a Test match not just for us but for St John's Wood and London as a whole. Lord's is the home of cricket and every cricketer wants to play there. To not have Test matches here would be like having Wimbledon at Eastbourne."

Residents and local traders have all been sent a copy of the report and Mr Bradshaw is to speak to the St John's Wood Society at a meeting next week.

Losing a Test would cost Lord's and the surrounding economy £10million - £2million per day.

John Falding, chairman of the St Marylebone Society, said: "This is what we always expected. It has always been argued that even those who think there is an occasional inconvenience at times should recognise the value of Lord's to the local community. You must expect some disruption on match days but there are so many benefits too.

"Lord's has proved to be very responsible in its expansion plans. There has always been a lot of consultation and the views of local residents have always been taken into account.

"It is the home of cricket and I think it would be a great shame if the ground lost a Test match."

As well as the massive boost to the local economy the London-wide economy also benefits from more than £25million annually.

Murad Qureshi, a local resident and Greater London Assembly member said: "This is a really fascinating report. Major matches at Lord's are clearly bringing a great deal of prosperity to the local area, as well as real economic benefits to London as a whole.

"By measuring the matches' economic impact, London Economics have made a major contribution to the debate about where these games should be played in the future. My view is crystal-clear. I want Lord's to keep its current share of major matches."

susanna.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk

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