Oval may lose right to host next year’s Ashes

September 23rd, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 23 (IANS) The Oval stands the risk of losing its rights to host the Ashes and the Twenty20 World Cup next year as ground-owner Surrey has launched a public inquiry into the its 35 million pounds expansion plans.The inquiry, which will start Oct 14, is expected to last two weeks as government officials will be assessing a decision by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to abandon the plans for a revamped 5,000-seater stand and 168-bedroom hotel at the venue over fears of a Buncefield depot-style explosion from a nearby gasholder, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Their cause of concern was prompted by the massive oil depot explosion at Buncefield and it is ironic because the gasholders have become an iconic image at the Oval. But now, their presence stands as an impediment in the club’s attempt to upgrade its facilities.

The HSE warned that the spectators face danger from an instant ignition of the gasholder, which would create a massive fireball.

A previous application for the project had been refused by the council in October last year following HSE fears that it could cause an explosion at the gas holders.

But Surrey, along with developers Arora International, submitted a new application, including a report from consultants BT&P and Hyder which ruled out chances of a major gas explosion.

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