Essex to play through Chelmsford ground redevelopment

Essex's County Ground at Chelmsford
Chelmsford has been the home of Essex since 1967

Essex hope to be able to play all their cricket at Chelmsford in 2016 during the ground's redevelopment.

An £80m five-year plan to build apartment blocks and improve facilities at the County Ground began this summer.

"We want to play all our cricket here and we're working with the developer and contractor on that," chief executive Derek Bowden told BBC Essex.

"It's the most cost-efficient way forward for the club. The ideal would be to not play at out grounds."

The shell of the first of four apartment blocks around the ground has now been constructed, and a car park with a cricket school on top will also be built.

In addition, Essex will benefit from a new pavilion, as well as general updates to the 7,000-capacity venue, which frequently sells out for T20 Blast matches.

The club had considered playing fixtures at locations including Billericay, Colchester and Southend in 2016.

"Frankly, we make most of our money from T20 and T20 is largely floodlit these days," said Bowden.

"So at the very least I think we will need to play our home T20 games here, but ideally play all our cricket here."

Chelmsford has hosted tour warm-up matches as well as England women's matches, and Bowden has not ruled out the prospect of international Twenty20 coming to the County Ground in the future.

"It might not be out of the question in years to come. Certainly more women's cricket is very possible," he said.

"We couldn't rule out one-day games, but there are plenty of other grounds queuing up."

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