Cricket club revamp

Photograph: Olwyn Hocking

Plans to revamp Newcastle Cricket Club’s grounds and pavilion on Jesmond’s Osborne Avenue are close to completion.

The compact ground has been the home of cricket in Jesmond for more than 125 years, and plans include a new entrance on Osborne Avenue with steps and a gradual ramp, as well as a terrace viewing area for visitors using wheelchairs. Improved access to the pavilion and new toilet facilities will, says the club, not only enhance the match-day experience for spectators, but also make the club an attractive venue for community events.

John Curtis, from Napper Architects has drawn up the plans, which are due to be finalised by the end of the year. Funding applications will be made during the first half of 2011, and Curtis has high hopes for the club: “Newcastle Cricket Club has a marvellous history and setting, and it is wonderful to be involved with adapting the ground to improve access and facilities to the benefit of the wider community,” he told JesmondLocal.

Neil Humble, co-chair of Newcastle Cricket Club added: “More than 6,000 people have visited the pavilion and ground over the last year, but we’re keen to improve facilities to allow even more people to take part in community events.”

The club is regularly used by local groups, for cultural events, training and meetings. The ground’s pavilion recently hosted the launch of the English Heritage publication Played in Tyne and Wear as part of the Played in Britain series. Viewing itself as a pillar of the local community, the club has sought feedback on its proposals from residents and local authority representatives.

The club has partnerships with a wide range of local organisations. In 2005, a campaign to “Save Cricket @ Jesmond” rallied support from residents, sports fans and international cricketers, culminating in an agreeement with a new leaseholder, the Royal Grammar School, which spared the club from closure.

Anyone seeking further information should contact club secretary Olwyn Hocking at olwyn.hocking@blueyonder.co.uk.

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