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CRICKET: New pavilion at Somerset gets the go-ahead
10:12am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Sport
SOMERSET have been given the green light for the next stage of the redevelopment of the County Ground and work will start at the Old Pavilion end at the close of the 2014 season.
Planning permission has been granted by Taunton Deane Council and the Somerset is now starting the process of going out to tender for the new Somerset Pavilion.
The vast majority of the £3.8m needed to complete the project is already in place and chief executive Guy Lavender says improving facilities is essential to ensure the club is able to maintain and strengthen investment in cricket.
He said: “Since 2005 we have almost doubled our investment in the playing squad, which for a county with a non-international ground is remarkable.
“That has only been made possible by the ground developments that have already taken place which drive revenue into the club.
“We can afford to do this project and the levels of debt that we incur will be very similar to those that we had during the major developments in 2010.”
Some Somerset fans have expressed fears that the new development is being primarily driven by a desire to stage international cricket at Taunton.
Lavender said: “When you look at the design, almost everything that we have included is focused on domestic cricket.
“What we have done is made sure the building meets the technical specifications for hosting one-day internationals. It would be madness not to do so because the additional costs are very modest.
“I would love to see international cricket played at Taunton, particularly the 2019 World Cup which would be brilliant for the West Country.
“But the immediate priority with this phase of ground development is to provide a great building for our members and spectators for domestic cricket.
“We have worked hard to incorporate all the things that we will want for the future; a decent bar and central meeting room, raised and covered seating behind the bowlers arm, good quality boxes and a first class media facility.
“I am sure it will be a facility that we can all enjoy and will complete the major elements of the ground development for the next generation of Somerset supporters.” The major construction contracts will be completed in the spring and work will start at the end of next season.
Lavender added: “The development will take around ten months to complete so we will need to make some interim arrangements to get us through the 2015 season.”
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