10 May 2014

Board seeks Eden Park building option

5:51 pm on 10 May 2014

The trust board for Auckland's Eden Park wants to be allowed to build on its existing cricket ground, but has no plans for what to put there and says it would only ever build if Auckland Cricket went somewhere else.

The Eden Park Trust Board is asking for zoning changes in its submission to the city's proposed long-term blueprint, the Unitary Plan.

Eden Park.

Eden Park. Photo: PHOTO NZ

It wants to be able to put commercial or residential buildings up to nine storeys high on the Number Two cricket ground.

Trust chief executive David Kennedy said it wanted to future-proof how the land could be used.

"We're not seeking to try to move Auckland Cricket anywhere or tell them that they can't be there. We recognise that we've got obligations to them and we're very comfortable for them to continue to be there for as long as they want."

Mr Kennedy said there was no certainty about what could be built.

"We haven't got a design of a building or anything like that. What we've done is to seek an underlying zoning that would allow us flexibility in the future to develop it - and that can only happen if Auckland Cricket of their own volition choose to leave."

He said Eden Park would never seek to influence the cricket organisation over whether it should stay.

Eden Park.

Eden Park. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Mr Kennedy said it would probably look to develop a mixed-use area with areas of public open space but also have "activities" that complemented Eden Park's core function and surrounding neighbourhood.

"We do see in some overseas countries, stadiums have activities like apartments, and perhaps hotels and cafes and that sort of thing."

Eden Park is about $50 million in debt and the other change it is asking for in its submission is to be able to have more games at night, which Mr Kennedy said was also about flexibility.

"At the moment we've got unlimited numbers of events we can having during the day but we have a ceiling for events or games at night with the lights. We've missed out on the opportunity to host some events because of restrictions around how we have to operate."

Eden Park's submission has been shared with a community liaison group made up of representatives from the neighbourhood, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport - though not the wider public.

The trust expects its submission to be made public within the month when all Unitary Plan submissions will be revealed.

A resident's group is not impressed at the possibility of buildings up to nine storeys high being constructed on the outer ground.

Eden Park Neighbours Association president Mark Donnelly said the existing use of the park had reached the maximum level the area could bear.

"It's events; it's 1000 functions a year. Everything's sort of taking it to the maximum that it can at the moment - the surrounding area, the arterial roads, the town centres. Any extra use on the site is really going beyond what is reasonable."

Mr Donnelly said if the land was rezoned it would increase in value, putting pressure on the current users of the space, Auckland Cricket, to leave.