Lord's Cricket Ground in London, which has long been considered the spiritual home of cricket, has an upgrade in the pipeline
Development plans for Lord's Cricket Ground in London have reached a historic threshold. Over the coming weeks MCC Members are being consulted about alternative master plans for the Nursery Ground end of Lord’s. One of the options, the RA David Morley Plan, shows how the most public frontage of Lord’s along the Wellington Road can be transformed to create a triple benefit. It creates a more inviting streetscape which benefits the ‘Home of Cricket’ and delivers huge benefits to the world of cricket in the form of funding for new stands and creating more space to support cricket.
The 37m deep frontage comprises leasehold land that is currently congested and cluttered with refuse and recycling facilities and the match day broadcasting compound concealed behind a long blank wall. The new plans remove the existing wall to create a generous colonnade with space for the Lord’s Shop, a museum, exhibition spaces and a sports clinic. In the centre, a new two storey Nursery pavilion takes advantage of spectacular views across the Nursery Ground to the Media Centre and the main pavilion beyond. Immediately below are some disused railway tunnels which will be expanded to house all of the unsightly 'back of house' facilities and create the type of service undercroft which has been so successful at major venues such as the All England Club in Wimbledon. Up above, on either side, are two mansion blocks in the scale and tradition of St John’s Wood which frame St John’s Wood Church Gardens.
There is a more classical street façade facing east with generous balconies and awnings facing west towards the cricket. The value of these apartments generates a financial windfall of £150m, giving £100m to pay for ground improvements and some new stands plus £35m worth of improved cricket facilities and a further £15m of funds to support the membership during the construction period - £150m in total. The Nursery Ground is squared off and retained in size, enabling a spectacular masterplan to be delivered across the rest of the ground. The proposed development of the Tavern and Allen Stands and Thomas Lord Suite, already has detailed planning consent and could be fully funded from the financial windfall or funds could go to a redevelopment of the Compton and Edrich Stands, which has the potential to create an additional 2,000 seats. In the RA David Morley Plan, these stands would be expanded upwards, either side of the Media Centre, providing much improved sightlines. This means that the new stands would effectively screen any view of the mansion blocks from the main pavilion. This is illustrated clearly on the project website nurseryground.com.
The MCC Members are also being asked to considering alternative plans, where the Compton and Edrich Stands are lower but extend further back, necessitating the Nursery Ground to be pushed out towards the Wellington Road across the leasehold land. If those plans were to be implemented, they would negate the potential of developing the leasehold land and the ability to expand the vacant space below ground to create a service under-croft. Also, the magnificent vantage point of the new Nursery Pavilion would be lost. Lord’s is a very special place that has historically been developed to combine the best of English tradition with pioneering, and forward-looking architecture which draws attention on the world stage. Subject to securing planning approval, and it is understood that the initial discussions held with the planning authorities have been very supportive, these plans would enable the much-needed development of the 'Home of Cricket' to be delivered with efficiency and confidence. With the support of MCC Members, the potential for a triple win can be secured. A hat trick of spectacular funding, more space for cricket related uses and a transformation of how Lord’s is integrated in its residential community setting.