Let there be light at Lord's
PUBLISHED: 12:38 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:53 07 September 2010
Sanchez Manning THE MCC has finally won permission to install towering floodlights at Lord s after years of wrangling with council bosses and St John s Wood residents. Westminster s planning chiefs have given the go-ahead for 48-metre retractable masts to
THE MCC has finally won permission to install towering floodlights at Lord's after years of wrangling with council bosses and St John's Wood residents.
Westminster's planning chiefs have given the go-ahead for 48-metre retractable masts to be erected at the famed cricket ground for the next five years.
Previous proposals to introduce temporary floodlights were rejected by the council due to massive local opposition after a test-run carried out last year was roundly condemned.
This time, Marylebone Cricket Club (the MCC) consulted 2,500 residents in a bid to avoid another rebuff.
The plans to introduce the four floodlight stacks for night-time matches have met with tentative approval from the St John's Wood Society, although they still have misgivings.
Chairman Andrew Mainz said: "We remain concerned that people living close to the ground could suffer from a lot disturbance caused by the lights, the noise and the crowds when floodlit night-time matches are playing.
"But we also recognise that Lords is trying hard to keep the effect of the floodlights in and above the grounds itself.
"We hope the negative impact will be limited but we shall be watching what happens very closely and will work hard to stop any breach of the permission by the MCC."
The retractable lights, which can be lowered from their full height to 30 metres when not in use, will be located in each corner of the ground behind the Compton, Edrich, Tavern and Warner stands.
They will be fitted before the Twenty20 World Cup this summer to allow Lords to host important evening matches.
However, under the conditions of Westminster's planning permission the lights can only be used for 12 matches and four practice matches during the season from April to September.
They also have to be dimmed by 9.50pm at night, switched off by 11pm and brought down on the morning after the match. Despite these restrictions, the MCC said it is delighted with the council's decision, insisting the lights are integral to the ongoing modernisation of Lord's.
MCC head of cricket and estates, John Stephenson, said: "This is the latest cutting-edge technology and provides much more focused lighting.
"The game of cricket is evolving with Twenty20 cricket especially. To be able to bid for major matches one has to have the latest technology.
"For the 'home of cricket' not to have floodlights when a lot of other cricket grounds around the world do doesn't make sense."
The MCC has promised to continue consulting with Westminster Council and residents to ensure the timetable for the construction of the floodlight system runs smoothly.