Case study

Bowling for better land use

Ageas Bowl is known as the home of Hampshire cricket and one of the greatest English test cricket locations, but like any thriving 21st century sports ground, the action doesn’t stop at the end of the last innings.

Transport Planning
Infrastructure Design
Environmental Assessment

Details

In order to remain commercially viable, stadiums need to capitalise on their site potential to host and accommodate a variety of commercial and leisure pursuits and amenities. Hotels, conference facilities, concerts and shopping – all these enterprises have been successfully woven into the infrastructure of venues famous firstly for their sporting heritage.

Ageas Bowl is no exception. There’s already a new 171 room hotel with conference and spa facilities at the site, while an 18 hole golf course called Boundary Lakes is scheduled to open in the summer of 2017.

Further development is planned, but as we all know, crucial to any successful leisure facility is the big P – parking. And that’s where Mayer Brown comes in.

Parking and the bigger plan

Parking can often be the sticky wicket of a major development. Without sufficient parking, a leisure facility becomes a problematic destination and commercial success is unlikely. Then there are the numerous planning hurdles related to parking and vehicular access to a site: access routes, noise and air pollution, environmental impact, and so forth.

With this in mind, any commercial development needs to begin with the parking infrastructure.

At Ageas Bowl, we have been evaluating site requirements, including parking, alongside site drainage and options for future development. This is being done within the framework of planning for the next twenty years, thoroughly scrutinising a variety of options for additional site usage that will complement the cricket ground

Putting the jigsaw together

For Mayer Brown, the whole process is a bit like doing a jigsaw – the placing of one piece allows the next piece to fall into place.

The first piece of the puzzle is for us to develop the parking concept, which in turn allows the placing of the next piece, which is to identify how to remodel the site for commercial enterprises such as retail and leisure facilities. In this way, more land is released as viable for commercial development and its value increases.

At Ageas Bowl the team secured planning permission to go ahead with the first wave of parking provision and we’re moving into the design and construction stage. From there we will be able to go onto the next phase: evaluating surplus land made viable for future development as a result of the new parking and vehicular access.

Creative development is essential to any major sporting venue, no matter how successful the venue is in its own right. Sporting fortunes can change, often rapidly, so the greater the number of profit streams, the greater the chance for a thriving future. It starts with the land – then the opportunities are as wide as human imagination.


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