County awaits public opinion on stadium changes

By Connor Steel

SUPPORTERS OF Hampshire Cricket are invited to join a public consultation on exciting new plans to improve fan and visitor experience at the Ageas Bowl, with the county looking to underpin the long term future of the venue as it reaches its twenty-year landmark in Southampton.

These plans were released late last week and include changes to hospitality, which cover a new hotel and the extension of fan zones around the pitch. An independent living facility is also being discussed to the southwest of the stadium, alongside a wellbeing centre that offers huge ranges of needs including an opticians and GP medical consultation rooms.

Improving the visitor experience and transport links, one proposal is that car parks will be moved and doubled in size to deal with increased capacity; particularly for Twenty-20 Blast, Hundred and International matches at the stadium. There is also the idea that a second access point will be made to the ground, which is hoped will reduce traffic on Botley Road and other routes on matchdays.

It is believed that the proposed changes will also help secure the long term future of The Ageas Bowl with the redevelopment, helping to speed up debt repayments through growing business. Further plans will include ensuring the legacy of Hampshire Cricket, who have been based at the Ageas Bowl since 2001 following their move from the now demolished County Ground

Speaking to the club website, CEO David Mann said: “When Rod Bransgrove saved Hampshire Cricket 20 years ago, he protected a legacy that’s over 150 years old, and we want to make sure that we put the business on a sound footing so that it is protected for another 150 years or more.”

Full information on the planned changes for The Ageas Bowl can be found via this link which includes a video outlining the next steps for the project. The plans are now in a public consultation phase where people can offer their thoughts and feedback on the proposed changes in order for the plans to be modified if necessary, with the aim of submitting a formal planning application in due course.

PICTURED BY HAMPSHIRE CRICKET: Bird’s eye view of the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, home to the Hawks since 2001