Kent Cricket CEO, Jamie Clifford writes a regular 'Welcome' for our Kent Cricket Match Guides. We have decided to extend these to our online supporters to enable everyone to keep up to date with Club activities. Match Guides are available at each of our home matches, priced at 50 pence or free to Kent Cricket Members purchasing a scorecard. The Guides include player interviews, match statistics and are a great read…
The redevelopment of our historic headquarters here at the St Lawrence Ground continues apace, although we have already made enormous progress in getting facilities up to the standard we need and want, and I was heartened during our first home LV= County Championship match of the season to hear so many positive comments from members and supporters about the way the ground is looking.
We are very pleased with the way the ground is now operating, and of the upgrading of facilities that have already taken place, and whether you are a life member who comes to the cricket regularly or a first-time spectator it is good to know that you will be catered for well here at Canterbury and will have a great day out.
Further improvements, however, are still to come and hopefully by the end of June, or early in July, we will have our proposed new café up and running in the space below our new club offices next to the Underwood and Knott Stand. It offers a wonderful space, with room for a number of tables and chairs outside too, for lunches and teas and coffees. Watching the cricket from there, while enjoying some food and a drink, is likely to become as popular as the renovated Leslie Ames Stand. The new café will also have a strong Kent theme, with a lot of local produce on sale.
The room above our new offices is also a brilliant new addition to our facilities, as it offers a superb hospitality area – with a balcony that affords a stunning view of the ground. My own office, too, below that on the first floor and immediately above our planned new café, can also be hired out on big match days, which means we have two excellent additional spaces for groups of friends, or companies, to enjoy a day of hospitality here. With hospitality already available in the Colin Cowdrey Stand and in the Ames Stand, I would urge you to investigate the various packages that we can offer. Why not treat yourself, your family and friends, or your work colleagues, this summer?
Meanwhile, we hope that the McCarthy & Stone development on the Old Dover Road side of the ground, around from our new club offices and which will provide retirement living with views of the cricket, will get under way this coming winter. We are about to exchange contracts on the sale of this land and we will be shortly releasing images of what the new buildings will look like.
There will be a comprehensive consultation process with our membership, supporters and with local residents and businesses in the next few months, and as a club we will welcome all comments and views expressed during this phase. I am confident, however, that everyone will like the look and feel of the development, which will also leave room for banked seating on that side of the ground.
The McCarthy & Stone development will bring income to the club which will cover off a considerable amount of our current debt, while the construction of five flats on the site of our old office building will also bring in important capital. Reducing debt has also been helped by the £1 million ECB loan (expected to be repaid by ECB in due course) which every county has received for capital projects and strategic planning, and the success of the Sainsbury’s store has already brought in both vital rental income and extra custom for us inside the ground.
There is much going right off the field, but we also want success on the field and I know that you will all get behind our players in this game. Many thanks for your support.