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