Tuesday 12 November 2013 

GVA secures permission for development of Warwickshire Cricket Centre at Portland Road

Colin Povey (right) with Nick Hardy Of GVA at the Portland Road site

Leading national property advisor GVA has secured planning permission for the refurbishment and improvement of a 120 –year-old Birmingham sports ground, which will become a new home for developing cricketers of Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

Located on Portland Road in Ladywood, the ground was originally built in 1887 for employees of the adjacent Mitchells and Butlers Cape Hill Brewery and included a county standard cricket pitch.

Following the closure of the brewery in 2003, the land was purchased by Persimmon Homes.  Permission was granted in 2006 for construction of 800 houses on the site together with a package of works for the pitches, which would be kept  for sporting use. 

Recently Persimmon has been concerned that these works would not best reflect the needs of the local community and would be unlikely to be sustainable in the long term and submitted a revised planning application.

Nick Hardy, planning director at GVA, who were instructed by Persimmon, said: “I’ve been involved in this site for 10 years for Bass and Persimmon and a key objective of the development has always been to ensure that this part of the site has a long term, sustainable future for sport that includes the local community.

“Since planning permission was originally granted in 2006 there has been significant investment in other sporting facilities in the area and Persimmon was concerned that the original proposals no longer represented a long term, sustainable outcome for this site.”

The Portland Road sports ground has received a number of additions over the years and features a pavilion, bowling greens, a mini football pitch and gym.

The revised plans that have been approved by Birmingham City Council will see Warwickshire CCC groundstaff return the cricket pitches to First Class standards alongside the construction of a new, fit for purpose pavilion to include changing rooms, equipment storage and social space.

In partnership with the Warwickshire Cricket Board , Warwickshire CCC will use the Portland Road site as a new multi-use development centre which expects to host around 90 days of cricket, played by all age groups, each season.

Colin Povey, Chief Executive of Warwickshire CCC, said: “The Portland Road ground has some significance to the cricketing fraternity in Birmingham, having previously hosted Minor Counties and international fixtures in the 1979 and 1986 ICC Trophy.

“For several years the ground has been used for other sports, so our Head Groundsman at Edgbaston, Gary Barwell, will lead a project to ensure that the pitches are prepared to First Class standard that will be used regularly by our Second XI.

“However, having this new facility also gives the Warwickshire Cricket Board more opportunity to stage our junior team fixtures and local community competitions on excellent wickets, which we hope will have a great impact on developing cricket in the region.

Richard Oldroyd, Managing Director of Persimmon Homes South Midlands, said: “GVA has worked closely with us to ensure that the revised proposals for the site were in keeping with the currently available sports mix throughout the area and also in finding a suitable organisation to take on the long-term ownership and management of the site.

“Warwickshire County Cricket Club is a responsible owner whose main objective is to deliver inclusive sporting programmes and I know that the site is passing into safe hands.”

The demolition of the old clubhouse is set to take place before the end of the year with the new pavilion in place by early 2014.

Warwickshire CCC hopes to have junior teams playing at the site by spring 2014, with the pitch up to full capacity and ready for second team matches and community use over the following 12-18 months.

The works will not affect the bowling greens or mini football pitch, which will remain available throughout the football season.

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