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Kent County Cricket's Beckenham future hangs in balance

Kent County Cricket Club chief executive Jamie Clifford

Kent County Cricket Club chief executive Jamie Clifford

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County cricket's permanent base in the borough hangs in the balance after councillors deferred a decision on expansion plans.

Kent County Cricket Club in Worsley Road, Beckenham, wants to build an all weather hockey pitch, an indoor multi-use training centre, a health and fitness centre and 40 houses.

The club claims the expansion is vital for new revenue or it may have to close its site after suffering “significant operating losses in the running of the ground”.

At Bromley Council’s development control committee meeting last Thursday members asked the club to consider whether the development would be viable with fewer houses.

It also omitted to include any affordable housing in the plans, a requirement of all new developments.

Kent County Cricket Club chief executive, Jamie Clifford, said: “There was an excellent debate on the merits of the proposed development. Unfortunately the committee did not reach a definitive conclusion but I am hopeful that planning permission will be granted and that the long term future of Kent’s involvement at the ground will be secured. The scheme is extremely exciting and would deliver a venue of true sporting excellence.

“I believe that we have brought something very special to the borough over the last 10 years – not just in terms of professional cricket being played, but also our considerable development programme in the area. We all remain determined to see this continue.”

However some residents have opposed the scheme.

John Cossa , who has lived in Worsley Road for 31 years, has formed the worsleycricket.com website.

He said: “I want to spend my retirement here. We want to keep it nice. There are people whose back gardens back on to the field and they were told when they bought their houses that they would never be built on. They are very upset.

“Very little cricket is actually played there. People live here because of all the open land. If this goes ahead it would be a great loss to the community.”

Councillors will meet again to make a decision at a date to be set after the club has addressed the issues raised.

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