Cricket club looking for new home

GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Cricket Club is looking for a new home – and could move to a site close to Downend.

The club has announced that it is “exploring opportunities for a new stadium development in South Gloucestershire” and has told members it is looking for a site close to the M4, somewhere between Almondsbury and Emersons Green.

The club has been based at the County Ground in Nevil Road, Bishopston, since 1889, when the site was bought by Downend-born cricketing legend WG Grace.

But it announced in December that it was looking at the possibility of relocating to ensure its “competitiveness and long-term sustainability”, and was looking to start negotiations over a move to a new stadium development.

The club said in a statement: “Following a period of consultation with South Gloucestershire Council spanning several months, we have identified potential sites that might allow for the required growth of Gloucestershire Cricket, the preferred site being situated in South Gloucestershire, close by to the M4.

“Our intention is to develop a stadium that is not only much more accessible to larger parts of the county of Gloucestershire, but is also purpose built to host the highest level of world cricket events.”

In a series of presentations to club members, club chair David Jones said the board was looking at two or three possible sites in the area between Almondsbury and Emersons Green.

Former board member Adie Britton said the club was looking at sites “near the M4 and the ring road” that would be around three times the size of the existing ground, which is in a residential area with no space to expand.

Members were told the possibility of a new M4 Junction 18A near Emersons Green and the park & ride at Lyde Green were factors being considered.

The aim would be to accommodate a 12,000-seat stadium that could be temporarily expanded up to 20,000 for international matches, and would also have space for extra facilities, including training areas, other sports and a hotel.

Mr Jones said: “We look forward to engaging with our members, neighbouring residents, stakeholders and the public as we continue a journey that WG Grace started many years ago.”

The club has not responded to a request from the Voice for more details on the site locations.

The council also declined to give details of potential sites.

A spokesperson said: “We welcome the interest from Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in potentially establishing a new home in South Gloucestershire. Any proposals would need to go through the proper planning processes and local people will be keen to hear more details as they emerge.”