Work to start on luxury hotel at Ageas Bowl in West End

What the Ageas Bowl will look like when finished

What the Ageas Bowl will look like when finished

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Eastleigh Chief Reporter

BUILDING work will officially get underway tomorrow on a controversial new luxury hotel at the home of Hampshire cricket .

The Ageas Bowl is finally ready to undergo a multi-million pound redevelopment to include a new 4-star Hilton Hotel, state-of-the-art media centre, restaurants, a spa and conference facilities.

Developers hope the stunning new facilities could be ready in time for major international fixtures including the 2014 Test against India and the One Day International tie with Australia in 2015.

When the ground is broken tomorrow, it will represent the final piece in the jigsaw in a long running attempt to transform the site in to a world-class cricket ground.

As previously reported, the scheme has been beset by delays while controversy raged over whether it should be given the go ahead.

But work can finally start on the last stage of the stunning venue after the a taxpayer-funded £40m bail-out was signed off by council chiefs earlier this month.

Once the final £48m development is finished, the 25,000-seater West End venue will be the country's only “model Test match ground”.

The six-storey property, operated by Sanguine Hospitality, will feature 171 rooms and four suites. Some 85 of the rooms will double up as corporate hospitality venues on match days.

The project is going ahead after the Liberal Democrat-controlled Eastleigh Borough Council agreed to buy the lease of the 167-acre Rose Bowl site for £6.5m.

A separate plan was also rubber-stamped by the council to pay for a £30m hotel at the ground, funds for which would be transferred on completion of the hotel complex.

Critics have labelled spending council cash on the venture as “reckless and far too risky”, after a council report revealed the perilous state of finances at the parent firm.

Opposition to the hotel also came to a head in 2010 when rival hoteliers launched a legal challenge against the proposals.

But the leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, Cllr Keith House , said this week: “This is a very important project for the whole borough. As well as creating jobs for local people and opportunities for local business , it gives the council significant new rental income to protect vital local services.

“We are committed to making sure that our residents benefit from the partnership, through the chance to watch and take part in sport. The prestigious world class venue will also help to keep Eastleigh on the sporting map.”

James McNeil, a partner at Paris Smith who has acted on behalf of The Ageas Bowl, added: “This crucial deal has taken over three years to come to fruition and has involved numerous parties and their advisers who have all acted together in a commercial and pragmatic way in order to preserve The Ageas Bowl's ability to hold International Test Matches and to ensure that the venue and Hampshire Cricket now go from strength to strength.”

Comments (6)

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12:05am Thu 20 Sep 12

bazzeroz says...

How the heck will they fill the 171 rooms? DSS clients? Madness!
How the heck will they fill the 171 rooms? DSS clients? Madness! bazzeroz
  • Score: 0

6:59am Thu 20 Sep 12

10 Minute Man says...

I assume the plan is:- business people during the week, cruise passengers, and people attending events at the stadium.
I assume the plan is:- business people during the week, cruise passengers, and people attending events at the stadium. 10 Minute Man
  • Score: 0

9:05am Thu 20 Sep 12

George4th says...

It is FANTASTIC! Anything that enhances our area, gives employment and gives us some prestige, is very welcome!
It is FANTASTIC! Anything that enhances our area, gives employment and gives us some prestige, is very welcome! George4th
  • Score: 0

9:12am Thu 20 Sep 12

ecuk268 says...

bazzeroz wrote:
How the heck will they fill the 171 rooms? DSS clients? Madness!
The Hilton Group would not do this on a whim.

They would have done surveys of current occupancy rates of Southampton hotels and decided that more rooms were needed.

At work, we often struggle to book a hotel for visitors during the week.
[quote][p][bold]bazzeroz[/bold] wrote: How the heck will they fill the 171 rooms? DSS clients? Madness![/p][/quote]The Hilton Group would not do this on a whim. They would have done surveys of current occupancy rates of Southampton hotels and decided that more rooms were needed. At work, we often struggle to book a hotel for visitors during the week. ecuk268
  • Score: 0

12:26pm Thu 20 Sep 12

Sunny Saint says...

I like and support the idea of further development at this already splendid venue. However, not if it is going to cause even more congestion. When are they going to cut a direct link to the M27 that will avoid the traffic nightmare that is currently the case?
I like and support the idea of further development at this already splendid venue. However, not if it is going to cause even more congestion. When are they going to cut a direct link to the M27 that will avoid the traffic nightmare that is currently the case? Sunny Saint
  • Score: 0

3:47pm Thu 20 Sep 12

AndyAndrews says...

Sunny Saint wrote:
I like and support the idea of further development at this already splendid venue. However, not if it is going to cause even more congestion. When are they going to cut a direct link to the M27 that will avoid the traffic nightmare that is currently the case?
A direct link to the motorway for a stadium, with the slip roads and roundabout that would involve? It would never happen. What's wrong with the link to the A27 they built but which always seems to be shut off?
[quote][p][bold]Sunny Saint[/bold] wrote: I like and support the idea of further development at this already splendid venue. However, not if it is going to cause even more congestion. When are they going to cut a direct link to the M27 that will avoid the traffic nightmare that is currently the case?[/p][/quote]A direct link to the motorway for a stadium, with the slip roads and roundabout that would involve? It would never happen. What's wrong with the link to the A27 they built but which always seems to be shut off? AndyAndrews
  • Score: 0

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