One week that could decide Ashes at Old Trafford

The action brought by Derwent Holdings against Trafford Council over the redevelopment of Lancashire County Cricket Club's ground is due to be heard in Manchester on Monday.

Derwent, controlled by Kwik Save and Total Fitness tycoon Albert Gubay, owns the nearby White City non-food retail park and applied in December for a Judicial Review of Trafford Council's planning approval of the club's plans, inparticular a 100,000 sq ft Tesco.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said the planning consent did not need to be referred to an inquiry.

Lancashire was dropped off the Ashes rota of host grounds in the past decade and needs to improve Old Trafford to bring the Ashes backs, something it aims to do by 2013. The club is working with Ask Developments and Tesco on the ambitious project.

Jim Cumbes, chief executive of Lancashire, said: "This could be the most important week in the club's history. This will be a make or break decision, the stakes could not be higher. We are confident that the case presented by Trafford Council, the club and its partners is robust.

"The club has spent £1.5m on costs associated with planning, advisors and in particular, Derwent's delaying tactics. There has also been a £2m reduction in grants as a result of not being able to start the development programme as planned.

"If we win, we can transform the ground and bid to host the 2013 Ashes. If we cannot bring the ground up to international standard, the North West will lose Test cricket and the Ashes for good. In addition, schools and young people locally will miss out on much-needed sports and community benefits."

The case is scheduled for up to three days. A judgment is expected by Friday 4 March.

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