Ex-Test star warns Lancashire needs a second ground near Leyland as Old Trafford is getting ‘worn out’

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Former Lancashire and England fast bowler Paul Allott has delivered a stinging warning about the over-use of Emirates Old Trafford as ambitious plans for a second county ground near Leyland have been submitted.

The TV pundit, who was previously director of cricket at the Red Rose county, has said the famous Test Match ground is having to host so many games and practice sessions that the square and nets are "almost totally worn out."

Detailed plans for a new ground at Farington have gone in to South Ribble Council in the past week. They have already caused some controversy locally and will be debated at a planning committee meeting soon.

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The cricket club, in partnership with Lancashire County Council, want to build a facility with two oval pitches, spectator accommodation for up to 5,000 and car parking for up to 500 vehicles in what is currently a 34-acre expanse of farmland.

How the new ground would look.How the new ground would look.
How the new ground would look.
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The cricket centre will also have a pavilion which would sit centrally between the two pitches and a practice area with partially covered nets as well as a gym.

In a report accompanying the planning application the developers say Lancashire Cricket (LC) have "a long-standing requirement for a second ground to function alongside their main ground at Emirates Old Trafford (EOT).

This is considered critical to the future of the club in terms of alleviating existing issues experienced at EOT (largely capacity related) in terms of supporting player development and expanding the appeal of the game across Lancashire and the wider North-West.

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The new ground would have two oval pitches.The new ground would have two oval pitches.
The new ground would have two oval pitches.

"In seeking to address this LC has signed a development agreement with Lancashire County Council to develop a new purpose-built facility which will meet their requirements in the most sustainable manner possible."

It adds that the facilities at Emirates Old Trafford no longer have the capacity to satisfactorily accommodate the growing demands for playing and training across all levels of the game.

Paul Allott is quoted as saying: "The ground and net pitches at EOT provide a finite resource which has been taken beyond its limits over the past few years as the amount of cricket being played has increased dramatically.

"Gone are the days when purely men’s First and Second team cricket plus one Test Match were the sum total. We now are duty bound to provide playing and practice facilities for all our senior men’s and women’s teams, our academies, England Test and One Day matches, international teams who may need quarantine and practice prior to tours and for the four week long 100 tournament. EOT cannot do this alone.”

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The new Farington ground would have practice facilities with covered nets.The new Farington ground would have practice facilities with covered nets.
The new Farington ground would have practice facilities with covered nets.

He added that Lancashire’s elite teams were in "desperate need of a high-quality first class training and playing facility away from EOT." He warned that with so much cricket being played there the nets and square "are almost totally worn out and unusable for quality practice."

And he said: "This is no-ones fault and is attributable to constant and over use of the ground. Farington will provide what Lancashire Cricket has been in need of for many years - a secondary high-quality hub away from EOT."