Sport & recreation  |  23 Dec 2019

The Christchurch District Plan will be changed to allow additional lighting to be installed around Hagley Oval.

The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Poto Williams has announced she will use Section 71 of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act to amend the rules in the District Plan governing the use and operation of Hagley Oval.

The Associate Minister’s decision means the Canterbury Cricket Trust (CCT) will be able to install the additional lighting that is needed in order for Hagley Oval to meet international broadcasting standards and to be in the running to host top-tier matches during the 2021 International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s World Cup.

Christchurch City Council has already agreed to give CCT a new ground lease for Hagley Oval so the additional lighting can be accommodated.

The Section 71 Proposal was submitted in September to the Associate Minister by Regenerate Christchurch, on behalf of CCT.  The Associate Minister subsequently invited written comments on the proposal.

The changes approved include permitting the installation of six permanent flood-lighting poles and accompanying structures at Hagley Oval. There is also approval to increase the number of event days.

Ms Williams says 83 per cent of the 1253 written comments received on the proposal were in favour and all written comments received were taken into account in making her decision.

“Utilising section 71 will enable Christchurch to bid for ‘top-tier’ matches in the 2021 Women’s World Cup and, for future international fixtures. Not to do so risks Christchurch being overlooked for future cricket events,” says Ms Williams.

Ms Williams acknowledged there were many strong views to consider in making her decision.

“I recognise the unique heritage of Hagley Park and its significance as national taonga and I realise that some people will not agree with my decision. I would like to assure them that approving a Proposal affecting the future of Hagley Park hasn’t been taken lightly and I have taken my time in reaching this decision.

“I believe approving the Proposal supports the regeneration not only of the central city, but the city as a whole and indeed the region.

“It recognises the importance of advancing Christchurch as a destination for domestic and international visitors, and establishing our city as a distinctive place in the world to visit,” Ms Williams says.