Kent County Cricket Club (KCCC) wanted to develop its existing academy facility at The County Ground in Beckenham, into an indoor, multi-sports centre. The facility is part of the county academy system, designed to develop players capable of performing at first class level.
From the start, the development had two aims – to improve the academy facilities for the club’s cricketers and to create a vibrant sports hub for the surrounding community. The project included creating an all-year round, indoor cricket school, an events centre and a 3G football pitch.
To design the project, KCCC appointed architects PDP London.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Kent County Cricket Club, having developed some of the existing facilities at Beckenham,” said Leslie van der Veen, project architect at PDP London.
“There were limited amenities at the academy, so we came up with a design that provides a new space for social and sporting events, benefiting both the club and the community.”
When PDP were tasked with finding a suitable surface for the indoor centre – capable of providing ideal conditions for cricket, while allowing other sports to take place – the practice turned to SAPCA member Gerflor and its Taraflex vinyl sports flooring.
According to van der Veen, the surface’s flexibility and ability to deliver the characteristics needed for indoor cricket was a key factor in its selection for the project.
“The centre at The County Ground is used primarily for indoor cricket training, but is required to cater for a number of sports,” van der Veen said. “Gerflor’s Taraflex flooring system met the club’s requirements for the specific sporting activities the club wanted to host.”
Since its opening, the new centre has delivered on its goals and has been busy with activities. Anna Spencer, manager at The County Ground, says that the Gerflor surface has been crucial in helping the club achieve its aims of creating a busy indoor hub accomodating a number of sports.
”The facility is now used all year round for Kent cricket squads, local cricket, football and netball teams – as well as Crystal Palace Football Club,” she said. “Our 1st XI, 2XI, academy, disability squads and all county age groups train here across the winter and say that the surface plays well with a true bounce.”
We asked the Gerflor project team about the details of the KCCC project.
Could you describe the project at Kent CCC?
The club was looking to create a facility predominantly for cricket, but one which would add value to the community as a whole, accommodating other sports such as netball. At around 800sq m the indoor school offers a great space for cricket with the ECB compliant Taraflex Performance, but of course being a true multi-use floor, means that nothing is ruled out including non-sport activities.
What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
Like many projects – and while the main contractors were excellent – there are areas of specialism that the contractors may not come across so regularly. We needed to ensure they understood the importance of the floor and the specific properties required for a good cricket surface.
You have worked with PDP London before – how did the partnership work with architects?
Like many architects, with sport being such a specialist area, they tend to have few projects so our relationship is never constant. It tends to intensify for a project, then we might not work with them for a number of years. I think in this case, they recognised Gerflor’s expertise as valuable and were keen to communicate as frequently as possible to ensure success.