Let play begin! Huge transformation of Sussex Cricket HQ is approved

Plans for major improvements to Sussex Cricket’s home in Hove were today given approval by Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning committee.

The proposed five-star conferencing facility for match day hospitality and all-year event hire as part of phase two / Image supplied by Sussex Cricket
The proposed five-star conferencing facility for match day hospitality and all-year event hire as part of phase two / Image supplied by Sussex Cricket

Sussex Cricket chief executive, Rob Andrew said: “The County Ground has been based in Hove for nearly 150 years and we are thrilled that this allows us to secure our future here and to continue to deliver our wide-reaching community programmes across Sussex.

“We want to thank our club members, neighbours, local businesses, amenity and conservation groups as well as the South East Design Panel and council officers for their important input on our plans.”

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Sussex Cricket commissioned award-winning local firm ECE Architecture to create the plans for the 1st Central County Ground, which are estimated to attract £20 million capital investment and create 153 jobs.

The proposed entrance to the ground, including reinstated historical features, as part of phase one / Image supplied by Sussex Cricket

Phase one includes replacing buildings on the south west corner of the ground facing onto Eaton Road, including The Sussex Cricketer pub, with 37 quality apartments and a pub with sun terrace in an eco-friendly landmark building which includes flexible commercial space.

A much more visible and attractive entrance to the ground is proposed, reinstating historical features such as the old Tate Gates and introducing a new clock tower. In response to public feedback, the traditional village green feel of the club is to be maintained through white picket fencing, grassy areas and planting trees and shrubs.

Phase two includes replacing the existing club offices and the lowest capacity section of the Jointing Tech South West Stand with a purpose built five-star conferencing facility for match day hospitality and all-year event hire, built over two storeys and including a roof terrace.

Phase three incorporates enhanced stands of permanent seating, which have been kept low so that impact on overlooking neighbours is minimally impacted, along with improved refreshment facilities and toilets.

In response to requests from regular cricket fans, the north west and north east corners will be lined with artificial grass for people to continue to be able to enjoy the afternoon sun on deckchairs.

Phase four proposes replacing the existing non-permanent hospitality buildings with more permanent seating, again kept low to minimise impact on neighbours.

The plans can be seen at www.sussexcricket.co.uk.

Sussex Cricket supports 200 community cricket clubs and 340 league teams across Sussex, the facilities at Blackstone Academy Ground sponsored by Hurstpierpoint College, a centre for women and girls cricket at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and community activity bringing cricket to people of all abilities in the county.