Wellington plans to meet future housing needs

9 February 2015

Last week the Wellington City Council Transport and Urban Development Committee agreed that Karori and Tawa will be the next suburbs to start community discussions about planning for greater housing choice and supply.

“Wellington needs more housing supply and more housing choices throughout the city and suburbs. Housing needs are changing. Wellington’s population is steadily growing and with demographic changes over the next 20-30 years we’ll see greater demand for smaller homes and sections, rather than the current larger family homes”, says Committee Chair Councillor Andy Foster. “We want to plan ahead to ensure there is a greater variety of homes to support future households and to give existing residents housing choices within their suburbs to age in place.”

“Planning is essential to meet Wellingtonian’s housing needs and to align other suburb improvements, such as town centre upgrades, which involve considerable resources and potential district plan changes – these take time.”

While by far the fastest rate of population growth is happening in the Central City we also need to provide for housing opportunities in our suburbs. Karori and Tawa were chosen because they have good access to shopping, employment and a range of community and recreation facilities, excellent public transport links, and the land capacity to support development.

Rather than have infill development scattered through suburbs, we want to encourage development closer to facilities and public transport where people can easily walk to shops, public transport and other services”, says Committee Chair Councillor Andy Foster

Tawa and Karori residents and other Wellingtonians are encouraged to join the discussion which will cover topics such as where medium-density housing should go in those suburbs, the type of housing that fits the suburb’s character, and to develop a common understanding of what ‘quality development’ means. Communities will have the opportunity to help shape the boundaries and rules for the medium-density housing areas.

Town centre upgrade plans for Karori and Tawa are also being planned and the Council is keen to hear where these communities think improvements to these town centre public spaces are needed. The Council expects to invest further in roading, public transport, cycling, network infrastructure and community facilities to support the existing and increased population.

“Look out for the public consultations starting in March and April. We want to hear your thoughts, ideas and opinions”, says Councillor Foster. “How do you see yourself and your extended family living in the next 10, 20 or 30 years? Do you wish to downsize in your current suburb? How can we allow for more houses yet retain the suburbs’ character and the aspects do you value? This is all part of managing change in our suburbs (and Wellington) with the goal of ensuring Wellington continues to be where you want to live, work and play.”

This work forms part of the Council’s multi-faceted strategy, which started in 2007, to manage housing development in Wellington as explained in the draft Wellington Urban Growth Plan, and town centre density development provisions are now included in the District Plan. Additionally, the Council has signed a Wellington Housing Accord with central government as another tool to help provide housing supply and choice in Wellington.