Western Springs Speedway will be repurposed into a cricket ground

Auckland's Western Springs Speedway will soon be repurposed as a cricket ground. 

Regional Facilities Auckland had previously released plans, backed by New Zealand Cricket, to turn the park into an international cricket ground. 

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett confirmed the deal had been done to move the speedway closer to the airport in a couple of years. 

"There's been a stand-off between Regional Facilities Auckland and speedway for such a long time," Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told the AM Show on Friday. 

"I want to give credit to speedway for saying it's time to move to a new home." 

Western Springs is set to become a home for all forms of cricket, with a new oval playing field and new stands. Concerts will continue to be held at the venue and it will remain a home for the likes of Ponsonby Rugby Football Club. 

Eden Park will no longer host cricket. Council planning committee chairman Ross Clow told NZME this would allow more concerts to be scheduled for that venue. 

Since March, speedway is said to have been lobbying the council so it could stay at Western Springs, but with its lease expected to expire next year, the organisation has reopened negotiations. 

Speedway is looking at Colin Dale Park in south Auckland as a potential new venue, according to Mr Goff. It's a place where there aren't many neighbours to disturb, unlike at Western Springs. 

"It's a new start for them," he said. "They're enthusiastic about it and think it's a good move, and it does free up the potential of Western Springs for further development."

He said New Zealand Cricket was interested in having an International Cricket Council (ICC) credited cricket ground in Auckland for the first time. 

The move could open up the pathway for Eden Park to host more concerts and in the long-term, facilitate the potential of a new stadium to on the Auckland waterfront. 

This was the long-term plan, Mr Goff confirmed, but it would require "full agreement with the governing body of Auckland Council".

"Everybody knows what the financial constraints are on a downtown stadium, so that's not going to happen any time soon," said Mr Goff. "But you've got to look out to the horizon and think about where we want to be in 20 years' time. 

"If you don't do that, everything you do is ad hoc. Getting Speedway's active agreement and enthusiasm now about moving was the first step, and I think that's really good." 

He said Auckland Council would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with speedway - an agreement between both parties. Mr Goff confirmed Auckland Council would "make a contribution" towards the new facilities. 

"Speedway is an event that draws a lot of attention in Auckland and we're fully supportive of it," he said. 

"It's good that we've got a strategy for Auckland. Not everyone has signed up for it yet, but we're working on that. 

"This is a move in the right direction."


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