Surrey County Cricket Club has finally been given permission to build a new four-star hotel and stand at its Brit Oval ground in south London.
The £35m plan, which is centred on a 168-room Arora International hotel, has been in the pipeline since the beginning of 2007 but has been repeatedly delayed over concerns about its proximity to the Kennington Gasholder Station.
After an initial rejection of the plans in the autumn of 2007, Lambeth Council resolved to grant planning permission in January 2008 but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) then asked for the plans to be "called in" over the concerns.
However, after a Public Inquiry in which the details of the development proposals were presented at length, the plans have now been given approval to proceed.
Surinder Arora, chairman of Arora International Hotels, said: "This is great news. The approval of our plans means exciting times ahead for Arora International, the Brit Oval and Lambeth.
"We are proud to be a part of this development and the benefits that it will bring to Kennington, the surrounding area and the game of cricket."
Paul Sheldon, chief executive of Surrey, added: "This decision has been a long time coming, and we are very pleased with the outcome.
"The continued improvement of facilities at the Brit Oval means that international cricket is guaranteed a place here for many years to come, and the Arora International hotel will be a major contributor to some much needed regeneration for our local area.
"We are looking forward to sitting down and getting into the detail of bringing these plans to life."
By Daniel Thomas
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