Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

No extra gigs for Eden park

Stadium’s neighbours delighted request turned down for increased events and major concerts.
Eden Park before the New Zealand Black Caps and South Africa match. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Eden Park before the New Zealand Black Caps and South Africa match. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Eden Park's last-ditch call to secure more events - including major concerts - at the country's rugby fortress has been muted.

Park chief executive Guy Ngata revealed earlier this month permission was being sought to increase the number of night events from 25 to 40, including four big-time concerts.

He said a sound barrier built soon after the 2011 Rugby World Cup that was sitting in storage would need to be erected if it won the right to hold concerts.

Ngata said the park had put forward plans through Auckland Council's Unitary Plan to hold concerts, but knew there were significant issues and obligations to neighbours.

An independent hearings panel this week turned down the bid for open-air gigs and more night-time events at the stadium.

Extra events would have provided the venue with a much-needed cash injection.

But the panel found "despite extensive efforts being made by all parties to resolve outstanding concerns, the Panel was of the view that no additional information was provided which reasonably justified these additional activities".

It concluded: "Accordingly, the most significant relief requested by the Eden Park Trust Board has not been supported and the Panel does not recommend any increase in the number of night-time events and concerts of any change to the activity status for them."

The Eden Park Neighbours Association, which is opposed to plans for massive concerts at the 50,000-capacity ground, was "pleased" with the panel's recommendations.

"We are happy with the outcome," the association's spokesman Mark Donnelly told the Herald on Sunday. "It was what we were expecting and it is just common sense.

"It is a fairly obvious Eden Park is not suitable for concerts as there are houses within 50 or 60m of sound towers.

"There is still a lot of detail to be worked out but we are pleased with the outcome and the recommendations of the panel."

Neither Ngata or Eden Park Trust chairman Doug McKay could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In early July, Ngata said the park's management realised there were problems it would have to tackle to gain consent for increased events, but he believed it was a viable plan.

He said if the venue could secure four concerts a year "you'd be doing cartwheels".

The trust board has struggled financially for many years.

It has been able to meet loan repayments on debt of more than $50 million and running costs, but unable to set aside money for maintenance and upgrades.

- Herald on Sunday

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