After a proud 130-year history of hosting sporting events at all levels, Lancaster Park is set to get a new lease of life as a community sports and recreation area.
Christchurch City Council staff, in collaboration with community and sporting groups, have prepared a spatial plan for redeveloping the park so that it meets the community’s needs for more recreational areas and sports grounds.
The stadium at Lancaster Park is in the process of being demolished, with the work scheduled to be completed later this year.
“The spatial plan is a first look at how the site could be used once the stadium is gone,’’ says Council Head of Parks Andrew Rutledge.
“The Council has already made the decision to retain Lancaster Park for community use, sporting and recreational purposes. What the spatial plan does is look at how the various potential users of Lancaster Park can be accommodated within the site.
“We have had discussions with the major sporting codes and they are united in showing a strong interest in establishing shared facilities on the park.’’
The spatial plan includes sports fields for winter sporting codes such as rugby and football, and cricket grounds for summer use.
A generous amount of informal, public open space is included in the spatial plan, as well as landscaped areas that reflect on the rich sporting and community history of the park, which first hosted sporting activity in 1881.
The memorial gates built on Stevens Street in 1924 to commemorate the sacrifice of Canterbury athletes during World War 1, are also a feature of the spatial plan.
Mr Rutledge says there is a deficiency of open space in the Philipstown area, in particular, and significant demand for more access to space for sports fields and associated facilities in the south east of the city.
The new fields at Lancaster Park would help meet the sporting needs of communities in the south east.
The spatial plan will be considered by the Waikura/Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board at its meeting next week. The Board will make a recommendation on whether the Council should adopt the spatial plan.
“It is important a decision is reached on the spatial plan as it will enable staff to progress the development of the park in a manner that will minimise time delays and lessen the impact on local residents,’’ Mr Rutledge says.
“Adoption of the plan will also enable the development of detailed budgets to implement the restoration of this important city park”.
Mr Rutledge says Lancaster Park will be redeveloped in stages as funding is identified and allocated through successive Annual Plan processes.
The first stage will be to establish a publicly accessible green space that can accommodate community sport, and casual recreational use.