The ruling gives the green light to Lancashire County Cricket Club’s plans to redevelop Old Trafford to a standard high enough to host Test matches.
The Court of Appeal heard the appeal by development company Derwent Holdings against Trafford Council’s approval of the club’s ground re-development plans. The Derwent case was dismissed by the judges with no leave to appeal.
The club’s plans include £32m of investment in new pitches, stands, 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 give a capacity of 15,000, capable of rising to 25,000 with temporary seating, and a screen showing action replays, and new floodlights. The club says that the development, which includes a Tesco food store on land nearby, will bring investment of at least £70m.
The legal challenge was brought by Isle of Man-based billionaire Albert Gubay’s Derwent Holdings, owner of the nearby White City retail park.
LCCC chief executive Jim Cumbes said: “The aim of this project was to bring back the Ashes to Old Trafford in 2013. Now we can start improving our chances of turning that dream into reality.”
He added: “It’s been a frustrating process in which Mr Gubay’s own plan for a rival food store at White City was rejected by the planning inspector and then a public inquiry. His Judicial Review challenge seemed to us a pointless exercise, but it did create huge uncertainty due to its financial implications.
“We were confident of winning and we are happy we have now seen the end of a protracted legal process which has been draining the club financially.”