Protest at empty plots

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - AM­BER-LEIGH WOOLF

‘‘In 2008, they were bull­dozed.’’

Empty Hous­ing New Zealand plots sit idle while the home­less have nowhere to go, church com­mu­nity groups say.

Four protests on Sunday lamented empty sec­tions in Strath­more, Lower Hutt, Porirua and Palmer­ston North, call­ing for more so­cial hous­ing.

St Anne’s Angli­can Church mem­ber Jes­sica Dove Lon­don was one of the 100 who at­tended the Porirua protest.

The site used to be 27 units of so­cial hous­ing, she said.

‘‘In 2008, they were bull­dozed. All those peo­ple lost that com- mu­nity, their con­nec­tions and that sense of sta­bil­ity,’’ she said.

Angli­can Bishop of Welling­ton Justin Duck­worth said the empty land was a sym­bol of in­ac­tion while oth­ers strug­gled.

Ear­lier this year, the Gov­ern­ment an­nounced a new pro­gramme of build­ing in the Hutt Val­ley.

A Hous­ing NZ spokesman said it was al­ready work­ing on de­vel­op­ment plans for two of the sites where the Angli­can Church held ser­vices on Sunday: Cas­tor Cres­cent in Porirua and Cam­bridge Ter­race in Lower Hutt.

He said it met church rep­re­sen­ta­tives last week to dis­cuss the plots’ fu­ture. ‘‘The Cas­tor Cres­cent site has the po­ten­tial for around 30 new homes.

‘‘It’s likely that many of these will be one-bed­room homes, as nearly half of Porirua’s cur­rent so­cial hous­ing de­mand is from in­di­vid­u­als or cou­ples with no chil­dren.’’

Op­tions for the Cam­bridge Ter­race site in Lower Hutt, were part of mas­ter-plan­ning for the wider Epuni area, he said. It had the po­ten­tial for up to 200 new homes.

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