Sports enthusiasts in East London are to benefit from a major new development project that will see eight new cricket grounds being built on Hackney Marshes.
The facilities, which are set to open next summer, will include seven artificial cricket pitches and three fine turf squares.
They form part of a significant investment scheme by Hackney Council, but have been made possible by a grant from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The authority’s plans will improve cricket facilities as part of a longer list of sports available at the Marshes, including rugby and seasonal athletics.
The area is perhaps best known for its 73 full-size football pitches – the highest concentration of such facilities in Europe.
A new Hackney Marshes Centre will also be built, providing changing rooms, refreshment areas and classrooms.
The new grounds will also benefit from improved transport connections, with a new bridge planned between South and East Marsh, and the reopening of North Marsh’s Cow Bridge.
Guy Nicholson, a Cabinet Member at Hackney Council, said: “This is a key part of the Council’s investment programme which is using the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity to give our residents world-class sports facilities alongside the new venues being built at the Olympic Park.”
“Next summer there will be five artificial cricket pitches available for cricket enthusiasts on North Marsh, and by summer 2012, the additional three fine turf squares will be in use, bringing the total up to eight for use during the cricket season.”
“With the building of changing rooms and a pavilion nearby, this really will become the home of cricket in East London.”
Bruce Cruse, of the England and Wales Cricket Board, added: “The ECB is pleased to invest in this worthy project and to give a boost to grass roots facility development.”
“It has been planned to input new impetus into the playing future of the local community. I am confident that as the investment matures cricket locally will go from strength to strength.”