Group gears up to stop cricket project

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 09:28 22/01/2013
Hagley Oval design proposal
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NEW LOOK: Hagley Oval drawings provided by Canterbury Cricket.

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A group opposed to Canterbury Cricket's plan to develop Hagley Oval will set up a war chest so that it can fight the proposal through the courts.

The Save Hagley Park group will hold a public meeting tomorrow night to discuss its concerns over the proposed development and how to raise funds to finance a legal challenge.

"This will not be inexpensive, but if we believe that allowing an international cricket ground is a bad decision and sets a very bad precedent for the future of Hagley Park, then we have no choice but to try to stop this from going ahead," group spokesman Martin Meehan said.

The Christchurch City Council gave notice of Canterbury Cricket's resource consent application to develop the oval on December 15 and has given the public until 5pm on February 4 to lodge submissions.

Once submissions have closed, a date will be set for an Environment Court hearing to consider the application.

It is unusual for a consent application to go directly to the court, but the council has decided to bypass the normal decision-making process because of the controversy over the proposed development and the likelihood that any decision it made would be appealed to the court.

The Save Hagley Park group wants to be a party to the proceedings in the Environment Court and needs money for legal representation and for any experts it wants to engage in support of its case. How much money it will need is unclear, but Environment Court cases typically cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Meehan said some fundraising ideas had been put forward by supporters, and they would be discussed at tomorrow night's meeting.

Help would also be available at the meeting for those yet to complete their submission forms.

The resource application lodged by Canterbury Cricket seeks planning permission to:

- Construct an embankment with an average height of 2.2 metres around Hagley Oval to accommodate 12,000 spectators.

- Construct a two-storey pavilion and grandstand within the embankment beneath a tent-like canopy.

- Install four lighting towers of 30.9 metres when retracted and 48.9m when in operation.

- Install temporary stands and scaffolding for televised events, a picket fence along the inside of the oval during matches, and sightscreens.

The application says the redeveloped oval would be used for all levels of cricket, with 120 match days typically expected over the course of the seven-month season.

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Canterbury Cricket expects more than 80 per cent of match days during that period would be fixtures that would involve 100 people or fewer.

Depending on international and domestic cricket schedules, major fixtures - matches likely to attract more than 2000 spectators - would take place on no more than 20 days in the season.

It is only during those major fixtures that Hagley Oval would be fenced, with entry requiring payment.

The public meeting will be held at English Park, in Cranford St, St Albans, tomorrow at 7.30pm.

- The Press

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