Croquet club left out of park plan

By Lawrence Gullery


Croquet is unlikely to be in the mix of tenants Hastings District Council is planning to have in a development on reserve land on the outskirts of Havelock North.

The Te Mata Croquet Club and the Hastings Croquet Club had planned to amalgamate if they were allowed to relocate to Romanes Drive, where the council had 3.5 hectares of reserve land available for recreation.

Havelock North Wanderers Football Club, next door at Guthrie Park, had asked to expand into the reserve as it was struggling to accommodate its junior ranks.

The reserve already had a BMX track and council staff had been instructed to come up with a masterplan for the new park, noting it was unlikely croquet would be part of the development.

Hastings Croquet Club vice- president Geoff Gibson said he was disappointed but would still like to sit down with the council to look at other potential sites.

"It appears we've been treated as a minority sport and not on the same level as main stream codes," Mr Gibson said.

"We felt we had a lot to offer the council and we were prepared to put significant funding into the project."

Mr Gibson said the club was catering for a diverse range of ratepayers and members from all society, not just one group.

"[Hastings] Mayor Lawrence Yule stated that the council had underestimated the demand for parks from the sports community," Mr Gibson said.

"We are sure we can still come up with a solution looking at other potential sites."

The Hastings club was based at Kia Toa Bowling Club and had recorded an increase in player numbers in recent years.

"We will stay there but just maintain, we won't be able to expand," Mr Gibson said.

Te Mata Croquet Club president Rollo Vavasour was also disappointed but said the club had a long-term lease in place at its Napier Rd site in Havelock North.

"And we will continue on there for the future," Mr Vavasour said.

The clubs proposed 10 lawns at Romanes Drive, with parking for 60 cars, playing shelters and club rooms.

Council staff were expected to report on a master plan for the reserve in August but had already calculated there would only be enough room for two, likely to be soccer and BMX.

The land was originally bought by the council to build the Arataki Link Road (now known as Romanes Drive) and was proposed to be used as a cemetery.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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