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Kent captain Rob Key helps start work on St Lawrence Ground redevelopment


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Video: Kent captain Rob
Key helps start the ground work.

by Adam Williams

Work has finally begun on Kent
County Cricket Club’s redevelopment project.

Speaking at a groundbreaking
ceremony for the St Lawrence Ground facelift on Monday, chief
executive Jamie Clifford stressed the club is well-placed to
deliver the project, despite current financial uncertainty.

He said: “I’m tremendously excited.
It’s been a long haul getting to this point, but to know now that
the project’s finally going to happen, there’s an opportunity to
drastically invest in the club’s future to make sure the
infrastructure we’ve got it is as good as it can be.

“There’s a tremendous amount of
hope about where we’re trying to get to and that’s what a 21st
Century sports fan expects, a standard of facility very different
to what we’ve got now. The challenge for us will be to keep the
spirit of The St Lawrence Ground and its environment, whilst moving
in that direction.”

St Lawrence development plans
St Lawrence development plans

The £10 million project has suffered delays since planning
permission was granted in 2007. The collapse of contractor
Persimmon Homes in 2008 left the masterplan on hold, while the
economic downturn has also stalled the hotel, health and fitness
suite element of the plans.

In a separate aspect, Bellway Homes
will build 28 houses and nine flats on the Bat and Ball and nets
sites of the ground. Work looks set for completion by September
2011.

The first stages of the ground
redevelopment, to be completed by developer Profile Construction,
will include installing permanent floodlights, six retractable
pylons which could be used up to 12 times a season under planning
regulations. Other work due for completion by next season includes
upgrades to the Chiesman Pavilion, with an extended ground floor
bar area, new seating on the top tier and refurbished changing
rooms for the players.

Club captain Rob Key admitted the
prospect of returning to fresh facilities next season is an
exciting one.

He said: “The landscape of
cricket’s changing massively and we have to make sure we’re right
at the front of it.

“Things like this will really help
the club evolve over the next few years.”

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