REDEVELOPMENT work for the home of Essex CCC is set to start in Spring after a construction deal was signed.
Members of the club’s committee, developers MCD and Chelmsford Council leader Roy Whitehead put pen to paper on a contract marking the start date for the first stage of the County Ground’s redevelopment into an 8,000-seater stadium.
Along with the capacity increasing, the plans which were first drawn up in 2004 also include the building of new training facilities, apartment blocks, offices and a multi-storey car park.
The first of three phases of construction will focus on the building of 62 apartments on the cricket school’s car park.
Keith Brown, the club’s treasurer, said the signing marked a historic day for cricket team which was also celebrating its 137th birthday.
Mr Brown said: “This is a landmark day in the history of Essex Cricket, the start of a project which will lead to a first class cricket ground to complement our first class team.”
Current head coach Paul Grayson said the redevelopment should help his side attract new players coming to sign for them.
Grayson said: “From a cricketing point of view it is good to have up-to-date facilities which can be used all year round.
“Hopefully the redevelopment will entice players to sign for Essex in the future. When you look at the facilities at other clubs such as Warwickshire, they do have better facilities and that will help them get players.
“If we can improve all the facilities, that will help make it easier for us to work with players in the future and get them to us.”
Council leader Roy Whitehead said he believed the construction work of the ground will not only boost the club but also the city as well.
Mr Whitehead said: “This redevelopment will provide a 21st Century ground for a 21st Century city.
“We want to see the ground redeveloped because Essex as a club deserves proper facilities especially for a team where England captain Alastair Cook plays.”