17th Sep, 2019

Historic Cinderella ground could gain new lease of life

Aaron Wise 15th Mar, 2017 Updated: 15th Mar, 2017

AN HISTORIC Worcester landmark which was once home to the county’s cricket club is set to be revived as part of a major project after being left abandoned for ten years.

Worcester City Council has drawn up plans to work with the Heart of Worcestershire College to re-open the Cinderella Sports Ground as a centre for cricket and football, by college students and community groups.

Currently owned by the developer Arndale, the Bransford Road site is rented to the City Council on a 25-year lease and the cabinet will be asked to back the scheme when they meet next Tuesday (March 21).

The project would see the council work with Heart of Worcestershire College to jointly refurbish the sports ground and sublet it to the college for a very small rent.

Funding from the council, the college, Sport England and from financial contributions made by developers under agreements attached to planning permission, will help revive the site.

And a mystery benefactor has also stepped in with vital funds to breathe a new lease of life into one of the city’s sporting landmarks.

A new cricket square, four football pitches and, subject to planning permission, a new multi-use pavilion with changing rooms would be created to provide educational and community engagement activities.

The ground holds a special place in Worcester’s history as the original home of Worcestershire County Cricket Club, where one of the sports greatest-ever players, WG Grace, played regularly in 1870.

It also hosted the first Australian touring side in 1878.

The site later became the works ground for the city’s Cinderella shoe factory, before being taken over by Kays Catalogues where it was used as a sports and social club until 2007.

The ground’s ornate historic pavilion (pictured) is currently still in place, but has deteriorated to a point where it cannot be restored.

However, plans have been drawn up for it to be preserved by dismantling it and re-building it at the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings.

Coun Adrian Gregson, City Council leader, said: “Cinderella Sports Ground is a much-loved community venue and I know thousands of people across the city would love to see cricket and football being played there again.

“I’ll be urging the Cabinet to support this scheme, so that players can be back in on this historic ground by the autumn of 2018.”

If the Cabinet backs the new plan, work on creating the new cricket square and football pitches will start this spring.

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