Basin change 'isn't necessarily bad'

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 13:11 13/05/2014
Basin flyover
NZTA

BATSMAN'S VIEW: A computer model of what batsmen at the southern end of the Basin Reserve will see once the flyover and new pavilion are in place. A portion of the highway is visible above the embankment, to the right of the pavilion.

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The Basin Reserve could soon be getting flyover facelift but that change may not necessarily be a bad thing, a heritage expert says.

Alison Dangerfield, an advisor for Heritage New Zealand, formerly the Historic Places Trust, said the historic ground had undergone plenty of change since hosting its first cricket match in 1868.

All the while, it had maintained its local, national and international significance.

She made the comment this morning at a board of inquiry hearing to determine whether the New Zealand Transport Agency should get resource consent for a two-lane highway flyover, 20 metres north of the Basin.

She told the four-member board there was little doubt the $90 million project would harm the Basin heritage area due to its bulk and the "visual intrusion" of vehicles on an elevated highway.

But a new players' pavilion that will be built at the northern end of the ground to block the flyover from view would help offset this by improving the ground's cricket facilities and ensuring its long-term future as a test match venue.

"Heritage fabric doesn't stay as it was when it was first constructed. It will weather with time," she said.

"Change isn't necessarily bad, and for the Basin Reserve there has been a lot of change over its lifetime as developments have occurred."

Construction of the R. A. Vance Stand and the transformation of the ground from rectangle to oval in the 1980s were relatively recent changes, Dangerfield said.

Within the past six years, the ground had also seen the addition of an electronic scoreboard and world-class batting nets.

Because drawings of the new pavilion were only indicative at this stage, its final design had the potential to enhance the heritage value of the Basin Reserve, Dangerfield said.

"In its existence, there has been a history of ongoing change to features within the Basin Reserve boundaries, as need has arisen and change has been prompted."

If the flyover was to proceed, Dangerfield said she would prefer to see the pavilion proceed as well, rather than the alternative proposal of simply putting a large screen on the flyover.

A screen would increase the bulk of the structure. It would also be difficult to come up with an "elegant" design, she said.
"There's always room for eye-catching design ... but in my travels I've never seen a beautiful screen."

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