Facilities at Park Avenue Bradford are set for further enhancements following the approval of a planning application for a 10-bay all-weather cricket dome.
The new facilities will replace the existing practice nets and include artificial surfaces and nets along with a canopy to keep the weather at bay. This will open up the facilities for use all year round, ensuring that rain won’t stop play at the incredibly popular Bradford location.
This exciting new development – set to be complete by mid-summer 2023 – has been made possible thanks to an England and Wales Cricket Board grant for £1.2million.
Since the existing nets were opened in 2017, the ground has seen a remarkable number of cricketers using the facilities, with over 5,000 people using the nets in 2022 alone. The ground saw 164 games played on it out of a possible 178 days of cricket in the same year. This included the return of Yorkshire CCC’s professional squads to Park Avenue, with an intra-squad game played at the ground in March 2022 followed later in the season by a 2nd XI Championship game. The historic venue has also been a regular training-base for Northern Diamonds and Northern Superchargers.
Yaseen Mohammed, Chair of Park Avenue Bradford and Non-Executive Director of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “We are delighted that our planning permission for the new nets has been accepted, and are very grateful to both Bradford Council and the ECB for their support with this project.
“The number of people from our local communities that have used the existing nets since they were built is remarkable and this new development will allow so many cricketers to enjoy the game all-year round, without the weather intervening.
“Park Avenue is truly a community hub and this project will only enhance the offering that we have, and help to engage with even more cricketers from our surrounding areas.
“We are also delighted to have been chosen to host the Grounds Management Project, which is testament to the knowledge and skills of our very own Nasa Hussain, who will do a fantastic job.”
Further to the enhancements in facilities, Park Avenue Bradford will also be the new home of a Grounds Management pilot project following an ECB grant of £500k. The project will be run by Park Avenue’s Head Grounds Manager Nasa Hussain and will support 30 cricket clubs and council facilities in Bradford, creating vocational and volunteer training opportunities for the local community. The project will see capital improvements, including fine turf works and hybrid pitches, at all 30 identified clubs.
Hussain, Park Avenue’s Head Grounds Manager, said: “This is another really exciting moment for both Park Avenue Bradford and our surrounding communities. The popularity of the existing infrastructure has been through the roof, and with the ability to facilitate training in all-weathers and throughout the year, the new developments will make a huge impact.
“We are another step closer to returning Park Avenue to its former glory, to be a real cricketing hub in the area and welcome in players and teams from junior cricket, all the way up to international cricketers.
“Alongside this, I’m delighted to have been chosen to lead the new Grounds Management Project and am looking forward to working with a large number of our local clubs to enhance what they are able to offer. We are incredibly lucky in Bradford to be surrounded by a vast number of very well-run cricket clubs and this project should only help to improve standards across the board.”
Nick Pryde, ECB Director of Participation and Growth, said: “The success of Park Avenue is in its popularity amongst the local community, with thousands of recreational players enjoying access to an outstanding facility each year.
“Providing more people from all backgrounds with the opportunity to engage with cricket is our most important priority, and this new investment will provide year-round access so that even more people from the Bradford region can pick up a bat and ball and play cricket.
“We are only able to do that thanks to the strength of our partnerships in the area, working side-by-side with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Bradford Metropolitan District Council to deliver more opportunities for more local recreational cricket players.”
The existing practice nets are set to be recycled to local clubs in the area and in the interim period cricketers and local members of the community and being encouraged to use the outdoor cricket practice nets at Myra Shay Recreational Ground off Barkerend Road and a cricket practice net facility at Marley Sports Centre, in Keighley.