IT’S D-day for Lancashire County Cricket Club in the High Court on February 28.
That’s when the action brought by Bermuda-based Derwent Holdings against Trafford Council over the redevelopment of the Old Trafford ground will be heard.
It is vital to Lancashire’s future, with the club having recently warned of £2million losses on the year, a record for any county and with international cricket at the historic venue under dire threat.
Derwent, owners of the White City shopping park near the Old Trafford ground, applied in December 2010 for a last-minute judicial review of Trafford Council’s planning approval of the club’s plans for a leading sports destination fit to host the 2013 Ashes.
The club and its partners celebrated the confirmation by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that their £70m investment plans to redevelop the stadium could proceed, but that optimism was halted when Derwent gave notice of appeal.
Now, Lancashire chief Jim Cumbes says the court’s decision will be critical for the club and also for the future of international cricket in Manchester and the North West.
“This will be a make or break decision,” Cumbes said.
“The stakes could not be higher.
“There has also been a £2m reduction in grants as a result of not being able to start the development programme as planned.
“If we cannot bring the ground up to international standard, the North West will lose Test cricket and the Ashes for good.
“In addition, schools and young people locally will miss out on much-needed sports and community benefits,” Cumbes claimed.
He added: “LCCC has been in Old Trafford for 150 years and is seeking to secure a future for international cricket for the next century.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board have said that without substantial redevelopment, after 2010’s Test Match against Bangladesh there will be no more Test match cricket at Old Trafford.
Lancashire say the current £32million phase of investment that is underway will deliver new pitches, stands, state of the art player and media facilities and an extension to the ground’s indoor cricket school and public areas.
Two new grandstands and a refurbished pavilion will ensure a capacity of 15,000 capable of rising to 25,000 with temporary seating. There will also be floodlights and a screen showing replays.