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Fri May 07 2021

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Capacity expansion planned for The Oval

12 Jun 17 Surrey County Cricket Club is working up development plans which would make The Oval the largest cricket stadium in the UK.

Proposal for expansion at The Oval
Proposal for expansion at The Oval

Under the plans, the capacity of the Kia Oval in south London would grow from its current 25,500 capacity to 40,000. Capacity at Lord's, in north London, is 30,000.

Surrey CCC aims to complete the project in time for the Ashes in 2023, with the centrepiece being a replacement for the Bedser Stand which could add up to 8,000 seats – as well as an enlargement of the existing OCS Stand.

It already has planning permission for a large development next to the Pavilion, 1 Oval Square, which is also able to incorporate additional capacity and facilities. Work could begin at the end of 2019, following on from the ICC Cricket World Cup, for which The Oval will host the opening game, and the next home Ashes series.

Surrey CCC chairman Richard Thompson stated: “The time is now right for cricket to think on a bigger scale. This summer we have seen unprecedented levels of demand for cricket at the Kia Oval, whether it be for the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy, the 100th Test which takes place in July, or to watch Surrey CCC in the NatWest T20 Blast. We need to build on this success and have a ground that can satisfy the unprecedented demand we have created.

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 “We have already received a positive response from early discussions with the ECB and our landlord, the Duchy of Cornwall. We will now work up more detailed proposals and financial models to share with our wider group of stakeholders.”

Chief executive Richard Gould added: “Our business has taken off over the last five years and our reserves have quadrupled in size along with significantly higher profits. This has largely been driven through T20 cricket and an increase in our non-matchday business, but sales for international cricket also remain very strong. Most of our major games now sell out, either for county cricket or international cricket, and we need more seats to meet demand.”

Melbourne Cricket Ground (the MCG) in Australia seats more than 100,000 spectators. Even Australia's fifth largest cricket stadium, the Gabba in Brisbane, seats 42,000. According to a list on Wikipedia, there are 17 cricket grounds in India that hold more spectators than Lords.

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