Newlands takes next steps for housing

29 September 2016

The Newlands community has shared their views with Wellington City Council on increasing the number of people able to live around the Newlands Town Centre. The consultation covered housing density and building design standards. This is part of the Council’s planning for Wellington’s future housing needs as signalled by the Wellington Urban Growth Plan.

Overall, people acknowledged that as Wellington’s population grows and housing needs change, Wellington needs a greater variety of homes near shops, services, public transport and public spaces. This will be particularly important as our population ages.

“I am delighted with the number of people who took the time to visit our drop-in sessions to learn more about the proposal, and thank those who made a submission,” says Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. “The people of Newlands really care what happens in their neighbourhood and also realise that we need more homes of various sizes.”

The Chair of the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, Councillor Andy Foster says: “The community has previously told us that protecting neighbourhood character and green space is important in Newlands. The proposed building design standards include a required landscaped area to ensure homes have green space. When preparing the standards, we also took into account the findings of a character assessment for Newlands.

“Additional traffic pressure on Newlands Road from having more people living in the area round the town centre was raised as an issue, but clear evidence is that the impacts on the roading system will be very small, certainly in comparison with traffic generated from greenfield development elsewhere in Newlands-Paparangi. The Council commissioned a report from AECOM which made recommendations for improvements along Newlands Road to help ease congestion and safety issues.”

When asked about the draft building standards, common comments were that house designs should be high quality, and that each home should have enough off-street carparks. While many support the general two-storey height limit, they also want to ensure new buildings don’t block natural light to existing homes. About 44% of respondents want more restrictive draft building standards, 42% think they are about right and 14% want less restrictive standards.

The Council will use the feedback to make any necessary changes to the draft District Plan Change building design standards and the area to be covered by the changes. The proposal for a District Plan Change will go to a Council Committee in December. There will another opportunity for the public to submit on the District Plan Change when it is formally notified next year.

Feedback on consultation process

The Council followed the consultation with a survey and review of the process. This generated positive feedback on the process, with most respondents liking the questions asked, communication methods used, and the new project website.

Cr Foster says the large number of submissions received (221 responses compared with 71 in the earlier stage of this process) reinforces the success of the communications used and has given the Council a good understanding of public opinion.
There’s more information on planningoursuburbs.org.nz