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MCC prepared to mount underground mission at Lord's

PUBLISHED: 11:25 28 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:54 07 September 2010

Miguel Cullen The MCC is considering using underground rail tunnels beneath the hallowed Lord s turf to house cricket nets. Two disused Underground tunnels, once used by the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines, could now be put to a different use, if a deal b

Miguel Cullen

The MCC is considering using underground rail tunnels beneath the hallowed Lord's turf to house cricket nets.

Two disused Underground tunnels, once used by the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines, could now be put to a different use, if a deal between the MCC and the leaseholders Rifkind Levy Partnership is sealed.

David Batts, the MCC deputy chief executive, said: "It would be great to turn them into something useful. One of the main planks of our masterplan for Lord's is to create a cricket academy.

"We need new indoor nets and there is no reason why they shouldn't be underground like the ones at the Oval. There are alternatives: The tunnels could become a storage facility, a car park, or a health club. We are receiving proposals from architects and we will come up with a shortlist over the next couple of weeks."

The MCC only owns the top 18 inches of the real estate. The underground tunnels are owned by Network Rail and leased out to the Rifkind Levy Partnership.

"It's really in our joint interests to do something with these tunnels because they are a wasted asset," Mr Batts added.

"At the moment, we have the Nursery Pavilion above the tunnels, which is a temporary structure, because we can't put in any foundations."

The MCC is planning to increase total capacity at Lord's to 38,000. It also appears that building underground will not just be confined to the disused tunnels. There are plans to alleviate crowding that would result from increasing the capacity by 30 per cent.

An MCC spokesman said: "The cricket academy is extremely important to the MCC and if building underground is possible we would take that option."

Whatever happens Mr Batts hopes for a great result. "We want this development to be state of the art," he said. "Really mind blowing.

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