Hagley Oval lights could be almost 50m

BRIGHT LIGHTS: The Canterbury Cricket Trust and Regenerate Christchurch are working on a plan to fast track six permanent lights for Hagley Oval.

Six controversial lights proposed for Hagley Oval could tower over the park at nearly 50m tall.

The Canterbury Cricket Trust has outlined plans for six 48.9m permanent lights around the oval after it asked Regenerate Christchurch for help using post-quake legislation to change the cricket pitch’s resource consent.

By comparison the lights at Christchurch Stadium are 44m.

Trust chairman Lee Robinson said the initial plan was for four retractable lights up to 48.9m high when fully extended and 30.9m high when unused. But he said the “home of cricket,” Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, warned against retractable lights.

“Lord’s Cricket Ground, that currently has retractable/removable lights, have advised that they are currently going through a planning process to change their lights and they have strongly recommended this type of retractable lighting be avoided,” he said.

“It is accepted in the cricketing world that fixed lights are a more appropriate alternative than retractable lights, as they more easily meet guidelines and technical specifications.”

The lights were estimated to cost $6m to $8m and the trust would fundraise to cover the cost.

The trust’s board includes central city landowner and property developer Peter Guthrey and former High Court judge Sir John Hansen.

However, Hands Off Hagley chairman and group member Martin Meehan said the height of the permanent lights would ruin the “vista” of Hagley Park, sitting above the treeline.

“It’s all a bit like a duck paddling, all the action is taking place underwater,” Mr Meehan said.

“It’s one thing after another.”

The Star revealed work needs to be fast tracked so the city can be selected to host games in the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup later this year.

Lights are necessary for the ground hosting international day-night fixtures and broadcast.

But the oval’s current resource consent also has constraints on the number of major fixtures, spectator numbers, traffic and parking requirements that would be addressed.

“Hagley Oval cannot host large international events as it currently stands and is not fit for purpose for those events it does host,” Mr Robinson said.

The trust wants to address issues through changing the District Plan using section 71 of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016.

It is heading to the United Kingdom to lobby potential sponsors next month.

“The purpose of the Canterbury Cricket Trust’s trip to the United Kingdom is to share information with interested parties, including potential donors,” Mr Robinson said. “This is including the intent to apply for consent for fixed lighting.”