New housing set to pay for £250m redeveloped Lord's

THE £250million transformation of Lord s cricket ground is set to be part-funded by the development and sale of apartment blocks. It was revealed this week that the cost of the ambitious project has leapt from £200million to £250million since it was firs

THE £250million transformation of Lord's cricket ground is set to be part-funded by the development and sale of apartment blocks.

It was revealed this week that the cost of the ambitious project has leapt from £200million to £250million since it was first announced last year.

And Lord's chiefs say funds will be raised through a number of sources including the sale of debenture seats and apartments.

But residents fear they will be made to suffer if high-rise tower blocks spring up near their homes.

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Chairman of the St John's Wood Society Andrew Mainz said: "The redevelopment of Lord's in itself may not be a problem but we are concerned it is all going to be funded by building huge blocks of flats and a hotel over St John's Wood - and there can be no question of that.

"It would be a dreadful state of affairs if Lord's were going to be surrounded by huge blocks - it would change the nature of the area completely.

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"They have enough space around the ground to build lots of things and they want to build a hotel and large blocks of flats.

"We are very concerned indeed about any developments in the area surrounding Lord's to pay for these proposals.

"We hope that Lord's involves us in this process a lot and meaningfully - and does not make a sham of the consultation."

The designs will be drawn up by the prize-winning architects who designed the Beijing Olympic Stadium.

Proposals for the highly-anticipated redevelopment include:

o Increase capacity from 28,500 to 40,000

o The development of residential developments at the Wellington Road and Grove End Road ends of the ground,

o A luxury Lord's hotel

o Installation of floodlights

o The development of an indoor cricket school.

o A purpose-built museum to house Marylebone Cricket Club's collection of cricket art and artefacts,

o The construction of a tennis court

The refurbished ground is intended to make sure Lord's retains important test matches and other international cricket - including Twenty20 games.

Earlier this year the chief executive of the MCC, Keith Bradshaw, said he wanted Lord's to be the "Manchester United" of cricket.

Pritzker Architecture Prize and RIBA Stirling Prize winners Her-zog & de Meuron have been ap-pointed to design the masterplan.

The Swiss firm's former exploits include the Tate Modern, The Birds Nest Beijing National Stadium and the Allianz Arena - home to Bayern Munich F.C.

Regent's Park Cllr Gwyneth Hampson said: "It is good news that Lord's are using very high class architects and good news that interesting and exciting designs are going to be used.

"Lord's is an international venue and has international importance so any changes there have to be of a high quality and one welcomes the choice of a reputable firm of architects."

And masterplan project director David Batts said: "This is a significant day for Lord's but is just the beginning.

"We hope to work with some of the shortlisted practices on specific projects within the Ground as we take forward the improvements to Lord's over the years to come.

"Lord's has a reputation for innovative architecture and using different architects and we very much intend for this to continue."

Herzog & de Meuron were chosen from five firms and will now work on a more detailed brief on the requirements of Lord's alongside the planning policies of Westminster Council.

Lord's intends to make a planning application for the masterplan in the latter part of 2009.

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