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New-look New Road set to open its doors
DAVID Leatherdale must feel like a kid at Christmas at the moment with the eagerly-anticipated hand-over of the keys to Worcestershire’s sparkling new facilities set to be completed this weekend.
The £10million project has suffered from several delays over the course of this year — most notably caused by six weeks of flooding and freezing weather during the winter — but the new-look New Road should be open to the public on Monday.
The LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Hampshire that begins on Wednesday will give fans a chance to explore the new facilities and chief executive Leatherdale hopes they will be impressed.
He said: “We are aiming to do the hand-over of the keys imminently.
“Obviously, there will still be some work in progress on the ongoing hotel development, which will mean visitors won’t be able to do a full circuit of the ground.
“We will have to suck it and see to some extent.
“However, the facilities will be ready for next week’s game and there will also be a staffed reception on non-cricket days so people can come in and have a look around if they’d like to.”
The New Road chief added: “Going back to day one of the project, it has taken around four years to get to this stage.
“Back in October, we hoped to have been open in June, however six weeks of winter floods put us back, but we should now be open for the final two four-day games of the season so we can showcase the new facilities.
“I think when people get inside and see what’s available, and particularly the views out over the ground, and then compare it to the poor quality executive facilites we had before, they will be positive about the new development.”
The substantial development work at New Road is all in the pursuit of helping the club to become a year-round business which, in turn, should generate revenue to be reinvested into Steve Rhodes’ playing squad.
Leatherdale said: “We will now be aiming to generate revenue 365 days a year and that will enable us to ultimately put extra money back into our cricket budget, which is important to us.
“We already have a substantial number of bookings in the new facilities from October and onto Christmas, as well as the usual business in the Graeme Hick Pavilion.
“We hope to generate a considerable amount of extra revenue over the coming years.
“When we feel our new facilities are generating new profit for the club, then we can look to invest some back into cricket.
“Our medium-term budgets put forward to the England and Wales Cricket Board do include extra money for cricket, but there are caveats with that depending on us being able to generate more money.
“Without these facilities, we certainly would not be able to invest more heavily in the cricket side of things.”
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