Farewell to the sub­ur­ban dream


Could the quar­ter acre pavlova par­adise be re­placed by ter­race-style hous­ing in Lower Hutt?

Hutt res­i­dents are about to get their say on in­fill hous­ing, and a wide range of other changes to the Dis­trict Plan, as the coun­cil looks for a way to grow the city.

Lower Hutt likes to call it­self the ‘‘Gar­den City’’ and has al­ways taken pride in its large sec­tions.

The term ‘‘quar­ter acre pavlova par­adise’’ was orig­i­nally penned in the 1960s to de­scribe big sec­tions and the associated Kiwi life­style and is still some­times used to de­scribe Lower Hutt.

The coun­cil is look­ing at chang­ing its Dis­trict Plan to al­low in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion, more apart­ments and tiny hous­ing. Res­i­dents now have four months to have their say.

It is an is­sue that has al­ready sparked in­tense de­bate around the coun­cil ta­ble.

The fo­cus has largely been around the im­pact of three-storey and in­fill hous­ing on ex­ist­ing home­own­ers.

Mayor Ray Wal­lace said the changes ‘‘are all about po­si­tion­ing the city for the fu­ture’’ and he knows there will be op­po­si­tion.

With lit­tle avail­able land and an in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion, he said the city had to take a new ap­proach.

‘‘This plan change will put Lower Hutt ahead of the game in en­abling hous­ing sup­ply to meet

‘‘This plan change will put Lower Hutt ahead of the game in en­abling hous­ing sup­ply to meet de­mand.’’

de­mand and avoid the hous­ing short­age and sky­rock­et­ing house price sit­u­a­tion that we’ve seen in other New Zealand cities.

‘‘That sce­nario is a sig­nif­i­cant drag on city economies and de­prives young peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity of own­ing their own home – own­ing a house shouldn’t be a priv­i­lege for a few,’’ Wal­lace said.

The world was chang­ing and the mayor be­lieved the rules around hous­ing needed to re­flect the new re­al­ity.

‘‘We need good qual­ity, af­ford­able hous­ing if Lower Hutt busi­nesses are to re­cruit and re­tain staff. More com­pact com­mu­ni­ties mean less re­liance on cars, less emis­sions and more cost­ef­fec­tive use of our in­fra­struc­ture.

‘‘It en­cour­ages walk­ing and cy­cling and greater use of pub­lic trans­port.’’

In the last fi­nan­cial year, av­er­age res­i­den­tial prop­erty prices rose more than 23 per cent in Lower Hutt.

Welling­to­ni­ans look­ing for a home were in­creas­ing de­mand for hous­ing in Lower Hutt and push­ing the price up fur­ther, Wal­lace said.

Cen­tral gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion also now re­quired the coun­cil to ad­dress the hous­ing short­age.

The pro­posed plan change would per­mit a wider range of hous­ing, in­clud­ing low-rise apart­ments and ter­raced houses, cen­tred on nine ar­eas with good ac­cess to pub­lic trans­port, shop­ping, parks and schools.

It would al­low a per­mit­ted res­i­den­tial build­ing height stan­dard of 10 me­tres (three storeys), com­pared to the cur­rent eight me­tre stan­dard in res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

Sub­mis­sions close on March 9. To make a sub­mis­sion go to www.huttc­ity.govt.nz/pc43

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