Hastings CBD BD prospects ‘exciting’
Plan hearings reveal plenty of ideas to improve shopping, working experience
Plans to boost the vibrancy of Hastings’ city-centre are gathering speed, with a host of plans to improve the CBD shopping and working experience all gaining momentum and support.
During Long Term Plan hearings last week, Hastings District Council heard a host of submissions supporting its $4.5 million vibrancy plan, as well as some new ideas, and Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the council was “excited” with the amount of feedback.
“HDC is already considering a number of different projects to increase the city centre’s vibrancy. This includes two exciting laneway projects in the 300 west block, and in the middle of the 200 west block in Heretaunga St.
“Our council has also identified that we want to make it easier for developers to provide accommodation for people to live in our city, which is a great opportunity. We are also looking at ways to develop more green spaces in the city for our people to enjoy.”
Feedback on plans to revamp the CBD under the new LTP had also been supportive.
“We have heard from some amazing, passionate people who have presented some great ideas for us to consider.
“We were asked by submitters to look into other options, such as allowing one-way vehicular traffic in the city’s pedestrian mall.
“Council staff are meeting with one submitter in the coming weeks to hear his views in full. Staff will then bring back those ideas for the council to consider. Our council is forward thinking and totally committed that our beautiful city is alive, loved and inviting to attract investment.”
The mayor said it was “evident” in Hastings, as in many cities, that the retail environment had changed over the years. “That is primarily to do with changes in the habits of shoppers, to using ‘big box’ and on-line retail outlets.
“CBDs around the world are constantly changing due to these global trends that are altering the way we live, work and play in our Central Business Districts. To meet the changing global trends, the Hastings District Council is focused on creating a forward-thinking city centre for now and the future.
“Through our plans and in partnership with our business community, our beautiful city will be vibrant and connected, a pumping place for people to do business, to be entertained, to shop, to learn, to socialise, to live in and have fun in.”
City Business Association general manager Susan McDade said while retailers were doing really well, it was necessary to evolve.
“The CBD is definitely not dead or dying but there are plenty of examples of towns around the world that are. It is change or die.
“The big box is a factor but one that won’t go away any time soon. The modern retail environment is very different and needs to focus on the customer experience with omni channel marketing and peoplecentred activations. As businesses change and adapt, they will become more competitive.”
Those sentiments were borne out by the latest Market View retail spending statistics, which showed overall growth on a par with the national level.
For the three months ended March 31, spending in Hastings grew by 5.2 per cent compared to the same three months last year, with the total spend in Hastings reaching $66.1 million.
The percentage of locals spending within the district also grew, up 4.3 per cent in Hastings, Napier cardholders contributed 17.7 per cent of turnover ($7.44 million), up 5.2 per cent on the same time last year.
The biggest change was the contribution of shoppers from New Zealand cardholders from outside of Hawke’s Bay.
Their spending added up to $4.25m, up 30 per cent on the three months to March last year.
We are also looking at ways to develop more green spaces in the city for our people to enjoy. Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst
A new laneway concept for Hastings' 300 west block in the CBD.
A new laneway concept for Hastings’ 200 west block.