It’s just not cricket

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Being keen on cricket I was shocked and amazed to see the article in this morning’s DomPost  featuring, if the story is correct, a piece of horse-trading going on between the NZTA and the Basin Reserve Trust.  The story raises a number of rather obvious, questions:

A new stand as envisaged by the DomPost

  • Is the idea of an overpass so detestable to cricket lovers, that it needs to be hidden?
  • Do crowd numbers warrant an expansion of The Basin or is the proposal simply to block out the Nor-wester that tends to be a bit of a home advantage?
  • Is this a good place to watch cricket from (neither behind the bowler’s arm nor square of the wicket)?
  • Is this a diversion so that something less is deemed acceptable to block the southerly vista up Kent and Cambridge Terraces?

The surrounding vistas from cricket grounds are not all pretty.  You needn’t think further than the famous Oval, in London, where huge gasometers have been part of the backdrop to games for as long as I can recall.

Cricket and industry: The Oval, London

If the idea of an overpass is so ugly to cricket then NZTA would save significant taxpayer dollars by hiding it…

..yes there's an overpass in there somewhere...

or better still, dropping it down to the natural grade (but I would say that!).

Really, I applaud the Trust for striking a deal for a new grandstand… It is potentially great news for one of the most beautiful cricket grounds world.  But take the time to design something that will work both now and in to the future.  Consider the urban context.  Consider what it looks like from the street and from the ground.

The changes at the MCC, led by Michael Hopkins, with his tented pavillions and completed by Future Systems, with their media centre are great examples of what can be done with a bit of imagination (and a good budget).

Hopkins' Mound Stand at Lord's

The aerodynamic Media Centre at Lord's by Future Systems

These buildings are well placed to suit their relationship to the game and their place in the local townscape.  They sit well with their neighbours and reflect the ideal picture of cricket.

 

We can do so much better…


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Posted under: Basin Reserve issues | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “It’s just not cricket”

  1. m-d Says:

    Isn’t this also something of a white elephant, given attendance rates of the games they have there (other than the annual test match – but a stadium for one game and maybe a couple of concerts a year…?)

  2. Rhonda Says:

    Perhaps the flyover could incorporate a kind of side-lane (similar to the airport), where spectators could be dropped off at the top of the stadium…

    That ought to keep John Morrison happy…

  3. Nick Says:

    Is the idea of an overpass so detestable to cricket lovers, that it needs to be hidden?
    – Yes, people want to be able to focus on the game and not have cars in their peripheral vision. For test matches, quieter is better so umpires can hear the edges. The basin being one of the most idyllic cricket grounds in the world, having a great stonking freeway hovering over it is hardly ideal.

    Do crowd numbers warrant an expansion of The Basin or is the proposal simply to block out the Nor-wester that tends to be a bit of a home advantage?
    – I would think attendances would be fairly flat, certainly not warranted to increase the capacity. Provincial games are poorly attended. That leaves probably only the first day of the boxing day test that might fill the basin.

    Is this a good place to watch cricket from (neither behind the bowler’s arm nor square of the wicket)?
    – Probably not, behind the bowler is good, thats where the Vance stand is. The bank is the best place and this stand will destroy some of that literally as well as casting a shadow over more of it.

    The other funny thing is that this stand won’t be able to block out the flyover completely, it would need to be something like 200 metres wide for that. People will still be able to hear and see it as it wraps around toward Paterson St.

  4. m-d Says:

    Calls that this is corruption, and there have been plenty of them so far, are somewhat misguided and hyperbolic, even if they fit into our desire to malign NZTA as evil overlords.

    It is actually a considerably positive step that NZTA are willing to stump up to mitigate any adverse effects on the environment – this is part of our RMA framework after all. Similarly, they are also investing heavily in urban design/landscaping in the recognition that such things ARE important.

    Of course, I’m right with you in the argument that there are better design solutions that mean that such mitigation measures as the white elephant of a stadium need not occur at all…

    That NZTA are funding ALL of the changes around the Basin, including the improvement of the local roads in a way that supports local council strategies (transport ones at least, if not the clean green eco ones), could also be argued to be a ‘bribe’ on a massive scale to WCC – ensuring their complicity (Morrison actually gets another bite of the cake)…

    That NZTA are funding the retention/relocation of the historic creche building could be seen as a pay-off for the ‘powerful’ heritage lobby…

    That NZTA are hiring Wraight etc to ‘urban design’ the Memorial Park and environs could also be seen as a bribe to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage…

    And so on and so forth…

    Where do you draw the line between actual consensual engagement with affected parties and real corruption… (quite possibly when it appears that corresponding public consultation is similarly meaningful…???)

  5. IS Says:

    The thing that makes the Basin the Basin is the very lack of grandstand – the quaintness of the embankment etc. Cricket at the Basin is a picnic, keeping alive the Victorian days of gentility in some respects, which ties in nicely with the grand, soon to be destroyed, planning of this part of the city.

    Obviously the boozed-up ‘lads’ are a bit rowdier and more offensive these days, grandstand or not.

  6. IS Says:

    Plus, does it really cost $11million to construct a stadium to look like that!?

  7. Keith Flinders Says:

    Those in cricketing circles thinking of the $11 million windfall new grandstand at the Basin would do well to remember the history of road planners who speak with forked tounges.

    An offset for the desecration of Shell Gulley in the 1970s was a wide piazza to be erected over the new motorway. The motorway was completed, and the piazza then ruled too expensive, so a narrow foot bridge was erected instead.

    A warning from history.

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