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Planners aren't bowled over.

Byline: By Neil Elkes

THE architects behind plans to bring Edgbaston Cricket Ground into the 21st century have been told to bring a little 'pizazz' to their designs.

Warwickshire Cricket Club wants to upgrade the ground with new stands, floodlights, corporate hospitality and media to ensure it remains a top international venue.

But following a visit to Edgbaston, Birmingham's planning committee found the designs a little flat.

Director of planning and regeneration Clive Dutton said the upgrade of the world-famous venue is to be welcomed but added: "There is still a chance to improve the design of the stands.

They are better than what is there now, but somehow it lacks a little pizazz. We will ask the architects to go a little further and introduce some distinctiveness, a bit more flair."

The club is investing in the ground's upgrade at a time when cricket is on the rise, with sell-out crowds for internationals and more interest in the Twenty/20 game. There are also more matches requiring floodlights and until now the club has had to use temporary lights.

Coun Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End) warned Birmingham could not afford to lose Test match and international cricket.

He said that Sport England surveys showed that apart from the London Marathon, Test match cricket was a bigger money-spinner for a host city economy than any other sporting event.

"Competition to host international cricket is fierce and we should do all we can to ensure Edgbaston remains a venue. To lose it would be unthinkable," he said.

The committee, which was asked for its views on the development before a formal planning application is submitted, said that residents surrounding the ground need to be fully consulted.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 16, 2009
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