June 20 2013 Latest news:
By Tom Moore
Monday, January 14, 2013
Essex County Cricket Club treasurer Keith Brown believes that they can survive without Ford paying for the naming rights of the newly-titled Essex County Ground, or the ECG.
The motor company ended their sponsorship of the ground last week but remain connected to the club as ‘Vehicle Provider’.
Although Brown was sorry to lose Ford as the county’s naming rights partner, he believes that the county can generate more income with a state-of-the-art ground that the county and development partners MCD are constructing.
He said: “We’re sorry to lose Ford but eventually this ground will be worth substantial sums of money in sponsorship,” he said.
“If we lose it for one or two years, we’ll make it up when the ground is redeveloped.
“We’ll have a substantial increase in the amount of money for naming rights on a brand new, all-purpose, high standard, iconic building in the centre of Chelmsford.
“It’s a short term loss for a long term gain.”
Essex were formed on January 14, 1876, and 137 years later Brown believes that it is a birthday that can be celebrated after 10 years’ hard work.
He said: “January 14 has a number of connotations for me personally [it is also his birthday] as it was the date when we were founded.
“We’ve been working hard on this thing for about 10 years. It got delayed because of the public inquiry and delayed some more because there was no money around and nobody was buying anything.
“But our development partners, MCD, have found buyers for most of Block A [green outline in picture] meaning that the project can proceed and they are now working on the next phase in Blocks B [red outline] and C so it is a momentous day.”
The hoped-for completion date for the first phase of the project is in the summer of 2014 and the money raised from that will fund the next phase, which in turn will boost money for the final part of the redevelopment.
Brown confirmed that the cricket club would have to put some of their own money in as well to keep the project going.
“At this stage, it doesn’t make any difference at all,” he said.
“The first phase generates some income for the club and that money will be invested into the next phase that will include the cricket school and cricket pavilion.
“Each bit of development creates additional cash that we can reinvest into the facilities. We’ll have to top it up with our own money.”
He explained: “Block A is on the far side of the car park behind the cricket school. Block B is partly where the cricket school is and the multi-storey car park.”
Brown went on to explain how the sales had been conducted and with 90 per cent of the first properties taken, it appears that the majority of them have been bought.
“It’s a mixture,” he said.
“Most of block A has been sold. Block B contains social housing which will be rented and other people are buying as an investment to rent out.
“It’s going to be a real mixture.”
Brown revealed that the cricket club are close to reaching agreements on the next phases of the project.
“Progress has been made on the second and third phases,” he admitted. “They’re not sales but they’re close to them. I’d say they were provisional contracts.”
The treasurer was full of praise for Chelmsford Borough Council with leader Roy Whitehead in attendance for the signing of the contracts.
“The council have been very good,” Brown said, adding: “It’s all part of the development to include the car park.
“The council will get back the number of spaces they’re giving up and we’ll get ours back in the multi-storey car park.”
He added: “We can’t be firm on anything. We are anticipating that we’ll be starting the next phase in a year’s time – that’s what we’re hoping.”