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Capital’s west waits on big development after council vote

Dec 18th, 2016 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News


By Margot Neas and Kateni Sau

Residents in the Western Suburbs can only wait and see what will replace the open space on Curtis Street after the Wellington City Council signed off the area for a new business development.

The land sits in the valley between Karori and Northland.

A decision from the Environment Court in 2015 allowed commercial development to take place after the council voted to re-zone the Prime Property owned land as the Curtis Street Business Zone under the District Plan in 2016.

Speaking at the final council meeting of 2016, Councillor Andy Foster said that there is a real shortage of commercially zoned land in that part of the city.

The council wanted to be able to provide some land that could be used for commercial purposes without creating what’s called a “Newtown Centre”.

“We are not looking to have a mall or a supermarket there because of the impact on the other town centres in the area around there but we are of a view that there should be more commercial type activity in the area.

“In a place like Wellington land is valuable and we need to use it the best we can, that’s the process we’ve been through to get from a mix of some open space and mostly residential to what is now called a business zone,” says Foster.

The new zone will have specific requirements to acknowledge local values and boundaries because the developer has wanted to build a Mitre 10 Mega.

“What we got was what we were seeking to do which was a business zoning, but with specific rules,” he says.

Foster says getting the approval to rezone 55 to 58 Curtis Street was not an easy job as residents did not agree with the plan change.

“Some of the residents in the area didn’t want any change at all, but you can’t leave bits of land in a place like Wellington.”

Wayne Newman, spokesman for the Creswick Valley Residents Association disagrees with Mr Foster, saying the community remains unconvinced that this is the right option for the area.

“The local community retains strong reservations about the appropriateness or need for a business area at this location,” said Mr Newman.

“The people who live in and around Creswick Valley see the open space in the valley as having even more value for the western suburbs now and its loss is all the more regrettable,” said Mr Newman.

Mr Newman also raised concerns over the ability of Prime Property Group to develop the land in accordance with the tightened development conditions imposed by the Environment Court.

“Recent revelations about the activities of Prime Property Group elsewhere in the city have led to many local residents expressing concern about compliance when the site comes to be developed,” said Mr Newman.

In 2012, Prime Property Group planned to use the site for a Mitre 10 Mega but is yet to confirm if this is still their intention. NewsWire has asked for a response from Prime.

At the same meeting, councillors also voted to rezone 42A Riddiford Street in Newtown and to make minor changes to the District plan.

The council has planned to have all plan changes in effect on January 16 2017.



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