St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Grounds St George's Park - EPCB 1992 Bid to Purchase St George’s Park Cricket Ground
EPCB 1992 Bid to Purchase St George’s Park Cricket Ground
Kin Bentley

An application by the Eastern Province Cricket Board to buy that part of St George’s Park where its cricket facilities are located was deferred by the Port Elizabeth City Council Land Usage Committee yesterday.

Committee chairman Charles Garai said further discussions would have to be held between municipal officials and the parties concerned “to resolve certain technical difficulties that may arise”.

A R23m grandstand at the duckpond end of the ground is nearing completion, but according to a report to the meeting the board is planning more redevelopment and upgrading.

The aim of such projects is to upgrade facilities to international standards to ensure that Port Elizabeth, which hosts several internationals this summer, retains its Test venue status.

Because the board subleases the land from the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club and Crusaders Rugby Football Club ground governing committee, which leases it from the council, it poses difficulties when securing funding.

This, according to Mr Garai, is one of the major problems which will have to be resolved before sale of the land could go through.

City administration director Carl Fischer noted that the council accepted a policy last month that land leased to sporting bodies should be sold to acceptably constituted clubs at a nominal value of R1 per square metre on certain conditions.

These included that a restrictive and reversionary clause is registered against the title of the property in favour of the council. The sale of the land must lead to capital works of a permanent nature being undertaken.

Mr Fischer noted that the grounds in St George’s Park had been used for sporting purposes since at least 1858.

“St George’s Park was granted to the council in 1864, and is held under a deed of grant dated Febru-ary 23, 1864.”

A condition of the grant was that the area should be held and used in perpetuity as a public park.

“It is interesting to note, however, that the diagram which is attached to the deed of grant, framed in 1863, shows the park and an area marked ‘cricket ground’, which is in the same position as the existing cricket grounds.”

While not making a recommendation, Mr Fischer said the application had “certain merit”.

“The board has a substantial financial interest in the land and has itself undertaken most of its development.”

It was to host two international cricket matches later this year, and was “obviously keen to ensure future internationals will still be played in Port Elizabeth”.

Mr Fischer said it was “extremely unlikely that the land will ever revert to public open space as such”.

- Among conditions governing the sale is that parking arrangements and access should be to the satisfaction of the city engineer.

Eastern Province Herald.
September 9, 1992.

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