New Zealand news August 15, 2013

Hagley Oval development gets court's okay

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Hagley Oval in Christchurch has been cleared by Environmental Court to move ahead with preparations to host matches in the 2015 World Cup. According to reports in New Zealand papers, the court also ruled that the ground can host 13 days of major-cricket fixtures a year and New Zealand Cricket, aside from the World Cup games, could add temporary seating to boost the ground's capacity from 12,000 to 20,000 twice every three years.

Canterbury Cricket's plans to develop the Hagley Oval as an international cricket venue found opposition from some members of the public, who started a petition that said Hagley Park, within which the ground is located, "was gifted to Christchurch to be reserved as a Public Park forever and for the enjoyment and recreation of all. This proposal goes against that original intention and sets a precedent for the loss of open public space and further commercial development within Hagley Park."

The ground is scheduled to host New Zealand's opening fixture of the World Cup, against Sri Lanka, on February 14. Later on in the tournament, it will host two more group-stage matches, featuring Pakistan and West Indies on February 21 and England and a qualifier on February 23.

The court has not ruled fully in favour of Canterbury Cricket, though, granting them only some concessions. Other specifications state that temporary facilities and structures associated with major-cricket fixtures may not occupy the ground for more than 40 days per season, two or more major fixtures may be scheduled within the same week, provided that on each occasion the temporary facilities and structures don't occupy the ground for more than 14 consecutive days, and floodlight headframes - which are yet to be installed - are to be removed at the end of the cricket season.

Now, the city council will need to approve Canterbury Cricket's plans for the ground. Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon was quoted by papers as saying: "While we are very pleased with this decision we know that the matter now needs to go before the [council] to consider whether to grant a lease to Canterbury Cricket for the proposed pavilion and light towers. We are obviously hopeful the council will approve this." The plans for the ground include a built-up pavilion, light towers and a grass embankment.

The group that lodged the petition, Hands off Hagley, has 15 days to appeal the Environmental Court's decision, but this would have to be based on a point of law.

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  • Jordan on August 16, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    Hagley Park is a beautiful park with a happy, vibrant, clean and greeny fresh enviroment with a great culture.

    Theres a lot of Cricket, Rugby, league, netball courts, theres even permanent softball and baseball pitches.

    The stadium will only take up 3% of the park, it won't hurt the brimming culture at all. Sport in Christchurch is mainly based in Hagley park, and although it's used for a lot of other things, it is mainly a sporting park.

    There is no reason that 1 of the 5 Cricket pitches shouldnt be made into a stadium. It could (in my opinion) only add to what is already an outstanding Christchurch asset.

  • Angry on August 15, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    Hagley Park is also gigantic and you'd be forgiven for not realising there was a big old cricket oval in there. If you can't still enjoy the park, I'd wager you didn't approve of the existing cricket ovals, or even that golf course.

  • Gavin on August 15, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    Agree Simonc that Hagley Park is a lovely park but don't agree with you that this concession will visually destroy it. Cricket has been synonymous with the park for well over a century and the Hagley Oval area of the park is a lovely to place to both play and watch cricket. Christchurch is more than just a park, green space proudly abounds in the city but done well I would think this will add to the city and it's continued regeneration. I think it is great that the World Cup opening fixture is there and can't wait to be there.

  • Simon on August 15, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Hagley Park is one of the worlds best parks, certainly somewhere in the top 10, and development of this kind will detract from it's appeal. Good old cricket wants government money to visually destroy Christchurchs remaining prime asset.

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