New Zealand news July 22, 2014

Proposed flyover near Basin Reserve turned down

ESPNcricinfo staff

Plans to build a flyover near the Basin Reserve ground in Wellington have been turned down by an independent board of inquiry after four months of hearings.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) had plans to build a two-lane highway flyover 20 metres north of the ground. Cricket Wellington had given their support to the project after assurances from the NZTA that suitable shielding would be provided to hide the flyover. The agency had suggested the construction of a 12-metre high pavilion to block the flyover from view, although small glimpses would still have been visible from the sides of the pavilion.

The proposed project had drawn criticism from many quarters. Martin Snedden, the former New Zealand Cricket chief executive, and Don Neely, the former Wellington captain and cricket historian, had voiced their concern, stating that it could damage the character of the ground and lead to the loss of its Test-venue status. Save the Basin, a group lobbying to have the plan shelved, had raised concerns about the impact of the project on heritage listed buildings in the area, not just at the cricket ground.

The Basin Reserve is scheduled to host one match during the 2014-15 summer - the second Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka from January 3, 2015. The ground has not been allotted any matches in the 2015 World Cup and all games in Wellington will be played at the Westpac stadium.

Affected parties have 20 days to comment on the board of inquiry's draft decision before it is finalised on August 30.

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  • kent on July 23, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    @StevieS and EdStainsky, I am so delighted to hear that plans to build that flyover has been turned down. Ever since my visit to NZ and the Basin some years ago (outside of the cricket season), I have been a firm supporter of leaving the Basin untouched. I even wrote the then Prime Minister pleading for the Basin to be left unscathed. It is certainly one of the finest and amongst the most beautiful grounds in the world, and has a romantic and personal character of its own. To sit in the crowd at the Basin would be a dream fulfilled for me, and I still cherish the hope that it could be realized some time in the future. You people of NZ treasure and value the Basin for what it is, an exquisite ground of idyllic beauty and charm, and please preserve its unique essence for all time.

  • David on July 22, 2014, 19:12 GMT

    StevieS - I absolutely promise you that if they had WC games at the Basin it'll be a sell out - only holds 10,000 - 12,000 from memory and guys will take the day off work to get there for old times sake. Would be awesome. Shame it is all about the money these days and sadly a half full cake tin of around !5,000 will make more cash.

  • Garry on July 22, 2014, 11:31 GMT

    Why no world cup games at the basin? A quarter empty Basin is better than a three quater empty Westpac stadium.

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    If you imagine the Basin as a clockface, the flyover would have been from 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock. The stand that was promised would have blocked some of the view and noise, but not all. It's likely the experience of visitors and players at the Basin would have been affected detrimentally. The Basin Trust supported the flyover plans though, because it meant they'd get a free pavilion out of it. I'm glad the plans have been rejected, because the flyover would have been ugly and noisy whichever vantage point you viewed it from.

  • Ed on July 22, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    This is good news. The Basin Reserve is a heavenly place to watch cricket. I don't think a flyover would have enhanced the experience.

  • Rahul on July 22, 2014, 6:48 GMT

    I am not in Wellington any more...where exactly was the flyover going to be built? Were they planning on connecting the city centre to the airport? I know that road gets blocked due to traffic going into the tunnel during rush hours.

    Still don't see the space to do it though, its too cramped with houses everywhere.

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