Published: 14:10, 08 February 2006
KENT will play three of their four home Twenty20 Cup tie qualifiers at Beckenham this summer after agreeing a sports activity partnership with the London Borough of Bromley.
The alliance will see the council’s community safety and leisure portfolio holders back Kent’s activities at the Worsley Bridge Road venue to the tune of £12,500 a year for the next three years and should secure county cricket in Beckenham beyond 2010.
Under the scheme Kent and their Beckenham landords, Bromley-based property investment and development firm Leander Sports and Leisure Ltd., will improve facilities at the former Lloyds/TSB Social Club ground.
The county club will also increase sporting opportunities in the borough including hockey, football and cricket schemes for children and adults of all abilities.
Kent County Cricket Club also plan to develop links with schools, cricket clubs and youth groups, use the ground as a satellite academy and as venue for club matches, regional finals and charity games involving the Lashings all-star side.
The agreement has removed any lingering doubts over Kent’s future at the ground, indeed, the county now hope that upgraded facilities will attract improved sponsorship and help sell ground naming rights.
The deal also completes Kent’s fixture list for 2006 after the county confirmed Spitfires will play three Twenty20 Cup games against Essex (Tuesday, June 27), Hampshire (Sunday, July 2) and Middlesex (Tuesday, July 4) at Worsley Bridge Road.
In welcoming the link, Kent chief executive Paul Millman said: "This is very exciting news for cricket and sport in west Kent and we are extremely grateful to the borough for their support.
"The agreement is a wide-ranging one and we plan to use the ground as a centre for sports development in the area and hopefully, as a result, be producing Kent cricketers of the future.
"We will also be working with the ground’s owners, Leander Sports and Leisure Limited to develop the facilities over the three-year period.
"Both Leander and the County Club are now committed to turn the ground into a dynamic centre for sport in the area."
In echoing the sentiments, executive councillor for community safety and leisure at the London Borough of Bromley, Cllr Neil Reddin said: "We are pleased to see the club’s presence in Beckenham cemented further with their development plans for the ground."
The Beckenham aggrement may well raise interest at Kent’s other west Kent outground at The Mote in Maidstone.
The county have asked for improved facilities and re-laid pitches before they will give their undertaking to return to play in the county town.