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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 21:14 GMT 22:14 UK
Backing for plans to host Ashes
The club needs to revamp Sophia Gardens to host the Ashes.

Cardiff council planners have backed Glamorgan Cricket Club's plans to redevelop Sophia Gardens to take the Ashes tournament to the city.

Councillors voted eight to one in favour of the club's 7.4m plans for an enlarged pavilion at its parkland setting on the edge of the city centre.

Opposition groups are expected to challenge the decision.

Glamorgan surprised the cricket world when it was picked ahead of other clubs to host the Ashes in 2009.

In a statement issued after the planning meeting, a club spokesman said: "The next step now is to enter into discussions with council executives regarding a loan to match the private sector money we have already secured.

"We hope that these discussions will be successfully completed within the next few weeks."

This is an infinitely better proposal than the one they first came up with - but that is not the point - it's still a very bad decision
Campaigner Peter Cox

Club chairman Peter Russell said he hoped the talks would secure a loan to cover around half the cost of the proposed development, which could cost up to 8m.

The planned redevelopment would treble the 5,500 capacity of the ground, which stands in city parkland.

Consultation process

Peter Cox, of the campaigning website Hit It for Six, said opponents of the development would examine the planners' decision to see if it could be challenged by judicial review.

He said: "The decision is not unexpected - it's extremely difficult for councillors to argue against a council officer's report.

Sophia Gardens, from the River Taff
Objectors say the scheme would mar the city's parkland

"We're disappointed. Since last August, we have forced Glamorgan Cricket Club to go back and revise and revise their plans and there is no doubt this is an infinitely better proposal than the one they first came up with.

"But that is not the point. It's still a very bad decision."

Mr Russell said the club had conceded the five major points raised by objectors, relating to use of the conservation area and dealing with traffic.

He added the club's consultation process had included an exhibition of its plans, which had been attended by around 600 people.

Cardiff Council has pledged support for the cricket club, insisting it has three years to resolve all the issues raised.

Glamorgan beat major English counties to host Australia in the summer of 2009, although the game is dependent on securing the redevelopment of Sophia Gardens.

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