DURHAM Cricket Club bosses have been bowled over by a hefty cash injection.
Thousands of spectators will be able to enjoy the forthcoming Ashes Test from new seating at the club’s Chester-le-Street ground thanks to a £1.2million loan from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Investment Fund.
Permanent seating for an extra 5,000 people is now in place, bringing the total to 15,000.
LEP board member David Land said: “The £1.2million of funding from the North East Investment Fund means new permanent seating has been bought and installed in time for an outstanding summer at the ground.
“It is an important development towards the completion of the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground as a world-class stadium, confirming Durham as a first-class location for international cricket.
“The £1.2million for seating is part of a larger sum the LEP agreed to make available to support further infrastructure projects at Durham’s ground.
“We now have a superb cricket venue to host world-class events at the heart of the region, attracting global, national and local visitors to the area.
“It’s great news that the stadium now has a full complement of top-quality seats in front of the magnificent backdrop of Lumley Castle.
“We’re all eagerly looking forward to the Ashes Test match at Durham, and the other international events which have already agreed to come to Durham between now and 2016.”
Durham County Cricket Club chief executive David Harker added: “The new seating is central to Durham’s success in hosting international events.
“We’re delighted at the speed the seating has been put in place and at the difference it makes to the ground. The North East LEP’s investment fund was ideal for us, and the North East LEP moved quickly to provide strategically important funding within a tight timescale.
“We’re now ready for an exciting Ashes event from Durham, welcoming visitors from all over the world to the North East.”