The Oval is set to become the biggest cricket ground in England under ambitious £50m ($64m/€57m) redevelopment plans.
Tenant Surrey County Cricket Club is to rebuild the Bedser Stand and Laker-Lock Stand, increasing capacity from the ground’s current level of 25,500 in time for the 2023 Ashes Test.
In a report by the Daily Telegraph newspaper, work on the expansion to the Kia Oval will begin after the 2019 World Cup, with approval having already been granted by the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns the stadium.
The redevelopment will put the Oval, which is located in Kennington, south London, at the forefront of English cricket as the country’s new Twenty20 league is launched.
“English cricket needs a ground that can hold 40,000-plus supporters,” Richard Thompson, the Surrey chairman, told the Telegraph.
Big, bold and ambitious
“We have shown the demand is there and we would not contemplate this project unless we were confident we can fill this ground. We want to do something that is big, bold and ambitious and we know we can deliver it and we know we can fill it.”
Surrey has built up a huge database of 282,000 ticket buyers, and expects to welcome almost half a million cricket fans to the Oval this year.
The Oval was first opened in 1845, and as well as being one of cricket’s most famous grounds, it staged the first ever international football match, between England and Scotland in 1870, and the first FA Cup final in 1872.
Image: Adam Architects