Category Archives: Consultation

Submission about Housing and Urban Design

At the last meeting of the Association it was agreed that we would make a Submission to Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on the development of the Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD).

See here for more about this policy.

The submissions are due today, July 30th, and ours has just been submitted. Our message is that the overall vision and goals of this proposed Government Policy Statement align with values that we strongly agree with, but we ask that the Government makes sure that all the policies that guide housing and urban development support actions that make it possible to realise these goals. The submission is copied below.

Notes from the meeting July 2021

The meeting was at 7.30pm on July 19th 2021 at Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St. The discussion covered –

 1. Responsible Dog Owner Policy

The meeting supported the motion That Newtown Residents’ Association would like to request that the responsible dog owner policy applications start at the same time as notification for licensing occurs.

2. Spatial Plan process and outcome

Considerable discussion was held about the process and outcome of the Spatial Plan consultation.  A Wellington-wide umbrella group is being formed to promote density done well, and the meeting supported the motion That the Newtown Residents association welcome the development off Density Done Well and would like to keep in touch with this group.              

3. An introduction to the development of the WCC District Plan; Government consultation on GPS-HUD.

Martin Hanley outlined the purpose and development of a District Plan. The District Plan is a City Council document, but is guided by Government policy.  The GPS-HUD, the Government’s proposal for the future of the housing and urban development system in Aotearoa New Zealand, is open for consultation till July 30th.  After much discussion the meeting supported the motion That the Association put in a submission to this consultation that is reflective of the discussion at this meeting. 

4. The future of the Workingmen’s Bowling Club

The meeting supported the continued mixed community use of the land and buildings. 

5. Consideration of Heritage Buildings Places and Objects 

Consultation and competition.

  • There was a reminder that annual Subs are due. 

Wellington City Council Spatial Plan

The Councillors discussed this plan on Thursday 24th June, in a marathon meeting.

Between August and October 2020 there had been a process of consultation following which the Council Officers redrafted the plan, one of the key differences being an increase in the size of the areas in the inner suburbs where the pre-1930s housing would need a consent for demolition. However the Councillors rejected this revised plan and voted to restrict the character precincts to the areas that had been identified in the original Draft Plan. The intention of this is to allow buildings of up to 6 storeys in most parts of Newtown, Mt Cook, Berhampore and other inner suburbs. Here is a link to the full ‘final’ draft of the Spatial Plan debated by the Councillors, and see here for a WCC news story about the plan they have adopted. There are also stories on Scoop and other publications; see here for an outline of the amendments to the plan proposed by Councillors, and how they voted.

This wasn’t the result the Newtown Residents’ Association had hoped for. We have a long standing position that we would like to see larger developments built along the transport corridor and in the suburban centre. However tall buildings in the residential streets, shading the existing 1 or 2 storeys homes, would be damaging to these properties and to the well being of the people who live there. Our wooden homes are warm and dry if they are maintained well, but they need sun to keep them that way; see below for an explanation of why this is so important in Wellington.

Before the Councillors started their discussion Martin Hanley and Anna Kemble Welch spoke to the meeting, reiterating the Red Design plan for higher density housing in the suburban centre. This plan was developed during the 2020 consultation period and has been discussed with Councillors previously. They also presented the Newtown Residents’ Association Position Statement ( copied in full below) on the WCC Spatial Plan, which had been discussed at the Association meeting a few days before, and the statement about the need for sunshine – see the links below. Martin and Anna have lived in Newtown and been Association members since 1981 – Martin is a past President and current Vice President of the Association. They are also architects and urban designers, practising as Red Design, and have been closely involved with the urban design of Newtown for many decades. Their submission didn’t get much traction at the meeting, but the Association intends to continue these discussions as the District Plan is formulated.

NEWTOWN RESIDENTS’ ASSOCIATION POSITION ON THE WCC SPATIAL PLAN

The Newtown Residents’ Association meeting on 21st June 2021 discussed the Wellington City Council Spatial Plan and agreed on the following position statement:

The Newtown Residents’ Association would like to be able to support the WCC Spatial Plan prioritising Newtown to be one of the first Wellington suburbs where densification is developed. We agree with Generation Zero and Renters United that many more warm, dry, affordable homes are needed in Wellington. We would like more warm, dry, affordable homes here in Newtown, and we would love to be the suburb where the next generation could afford a home. Our Association has spent over 30 years lobbying Council in favour of intensification within our Newtown suburban centre* where 6 storey apartments can easily fit on underdeveloped commercial and industrial sites and in behind our heritage shopfronts. Intensification here puts our new residents right on the transport corridor, with sheltered verandahs, and close walking distance to all our suburb’s amenities. 

Red Design’s** test scheme that demonstrated 6 storey infill housing in this part of our suburb proved that new buildings on only 45% of this part of Newtown can provide 2,000 new homes***. The Association would like the Spatial Plan mapping to enable intense development in the Newtown suburban centre, development that works with the iconic historic buildings and shopfronts. If Newtown’s Spatial Plan intensification mapping was all focused on the suburban centre and the Mansfield St escarpment area used by Red Design, then only 16% of this area would need to be built to 6 storeys for our community to meet the expected NPS UD required growth. Our Association would welcome more homes than required being built in this part of our community. 

Spatial Plan mapping that meant Newtown locals would not need to dispute what might happen next door to their homes or flats is a significant qualifying matter that is the bonus of this approach. If the residential areas outside of the protected heritage and character areas were zoned for in scale up to 3 storey infill (not 6 storey high rise), then Newtown Residents’ Association would then be able to support the Spatial Plan wholeheartedly. Mana Whenua, the Residents’ Association, Generation Zero, Renters United, We Are Newtown, other local groups and members of our community would all be able to collaborate with Council, and focus instead on the District Plan Rules that enable Newtown to take the lead, embrace the Spatial Plan, and to get on with providing additional housing****. 

APPROVED MOTION June 2021: If Newtown’s Spatial Plan mapping for 6 storeys was all focused within the suburban centre and Mansfield St escarpment area, as in the concept plan developed by Red Design, and if the residential areas not included in heritage character protection were zoned for in-scale up to 3 storey infill housing, rather than enabling 6 or more storeys, then the Newtown Residents’ Association would wholeheartedly support the WCC Spatial Plan and would support the prioritising of Newtown to be one of the first suburbs where densification is developed. The Association members would also support in-depth community consultation, where a Newtown place- based zoning exercise identifies other areas of our suburb where our community would approve of additional future intensification. 

*Here 4 storey buildings can already be built without side yards and daylight set-backs between in-zone neighbours. 

**Local Architecture, Urban Design and Social Policy practice embedded within the Newtown Community for the last 40 years. 

Red Design are experts in in-depth community consultation and the driving force behind the Newtown Festival. [Newtown’s intergenerational multi-cultural celebration of place, performance, creativity, culture and community that every year involves nearly 1000 performers and 450 stalls (run by approx. 1200 stallholders) all convened by 250 volunteers and 180 paid crew and staged in the heart of central Newtown]. 

***Three times the number of new homes projected to be required in Newtown over the next 30 years. The proposed new apartments in the test design included courtyards and open space, 82% of the apartments had sun and views on at least 2 sides, 63% were 100 sqm. No heritage buildings were harmed in the making of this scheme. 

****Red Design know of at least 12 owners currently keen to develop their central Newtown properties, 6 of which already have plans underway. But overly restrictive interpretation of the design guide provisions and heritage rules by WCC officers are currently holding them back from intensifying. 

Notes from the Meeting, June 2021

Notes from the Newtown Resident’s Association Meeting, 7.30pm 21st June 2021 at Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St. 

This meeting discussed three issues tabled by members, and then had a lengthy discussion about the recently released version of the Spatial Plan, prior to it being voted on by the Wellington City Councillors later in the week

Jan G. shared her experience as a consumer representative at the Regional Hospital.

Jill F. sought the support of the meeting to ask the council to reduce the speed limits in Newtown. The meeting supported a reduction to 40 km per hour down Constable Street, and to 30 km per hour through the Riddiford St shopping centre and on all the residential side streets.  

Steve C. updated the meeting on the situation with the Carrara Park community garden.  He now has administrator rights to the  facebook page for the community gardens , and has updated and re-invigorated this group. He also signalled that Kai Cycle will be extending their subscription waste collection service for compostable material and are arranging for a compost collection bin to be positioned in the Park. There was also discussion of community fruit trees and the maintenance of street trees.

The newly released second version of the Draft Spatial Plan was discussed at length. Anna K-W. presented the Red Design submission to the Council outlining the case for development to largely take place in the Newtown Suburban Centre, on underdeveloped comercial and industrial sites, where there is the potental to provide enough new housing to meet the projected need. We agreed that there was a need for more housing, for unfit housing to be able to be replaced by warm dry homes, and for a proportion of the housing to be designated social housing to produce genuinely affordable rents. The meeting discussed a proposal whereby the Association would support Newtown being prioritised for appropriate growth if the Red Design plan was followed, and developments in the residential streets outside the heritage precincts were a maximum 3 storeys, unless the site was particularly suitable for a higher development. The meeting agreed to support this move, and that the Residents’ Association executive could finalise the wording of the Newtown Position Statement to go to the council having heard suggestions from the floor. 

The next meeting will be on Monday the 19th of July at 7.30 p.m. 

Submission to WCC about the Te Ngākau Civic Precinct consultation.

The Association has made a submission about the Te Ngākau Civic Precinct framework – the consultation closed on 16th June. we are troubled that the proposed strategic direction envisages a fundamental remodelling of this space.

At this stage there is little detail about the design, but there is a discussion of opening up the space by demolishing the City To Sea Bridge, and the Jack Ilott Green is included in an ‘area for change’. We are not alone in protesting about the possibility of losing this all-too-rare green space, and in our submission we supported the Inner City Wellington submission with the same concerns.

Back in 2016 whenJack Ilott Green was under threat previously a Facebook page ‘Save Jack Ilott Green’ was set up, and now it is active again. 

Wellington City Council Long Term Plan Submissions

The WCC LTP submissions closed on Monday, 11th May.

The Newtown Residents’ Association made a brief submission -see it here.

Overall there were 1647 submissions, of which 78 were from Newtown residents. See here for the WCC summary of the submissions received: https://www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/ltp-info/news_feed/what-we-ve-heard

Notes of the Association Meeting, April 19th 2021

A good turn out of residents were treated to three presentations of interest.

1) WCC Innovating Streets organisers reported largely positive feedback on the platform which was installed outside the Friendly Bakery and Black Coffee, and shared plans to increase such parklets in the community.

2) A team from GWRC presented the 3 main consultation themes from the draft 2021-2030  Long Term Plan:  

  • To de-carbonise public transport – busses, rail and ferries.
  • To restore areas of regional parks to native bush and wetlands as a climate change mitigation strategy
  • To provide more support (especially secretariat support) to constituent Councils to coordinate planning for Regional growth

3) WCC introduced their Long Term Plan Consultation, highlighting the extremely challenging financial environment and the huge costs due to the earthquakes and to lack of infrastructure maintenance (especially in water infrastructure) over many years.

Notes from the Residents’ Association 15th February 2021 Meeting

Brief notes from minutes of the Newtown Resident’s Association Meeting, 7.30pm 15th February 2021 at Newtown Hall, 71 Daniell St.

  1. Predator Free Wellington (PFW) plans intensive rat eradication operation throughout Newtown and neighbouring suburbs. See https://www.pfw.org.nz/island-bay-to-cbd/ (sign up to host a trap, or see more about the project) or 0800norats 0800667287
  2. Wellington Residents’ Coalition has been re-activated to campaign to keep Wellington’s water assets under the direct ownership and control of a publicly-elected body and to stop the introduction of water meters.  This topic will be explored in more depth at a future meeting.
  3. The Newtown Festival, (Sunday 7th March) is looking for volunteers for Marshalls, Waste Management, Traffic Management etc. To volunteer please contact newtownfestival@gmail.com or talk to Rhona, Martin or Anna.
  4. Wellington City Council’s draft Spatial Plan is unlikely to go back to Council until June. See Feedback report . The Long Term Plan and District Plan consultations will also need our attention in coming months.
  5. The Association voted to assist with steps necessary to help maintain the Newtown Market during Covid Level Two, should this be necessary in future.
  6. The Community Centre redevelopment now has another new project manager. The NCCC staff and clients are moving out on 14 April. The CAB has moved into Kia Ora Newtown, and the Tool Library is moving to new premises next to Network Newtown at the end of the month
  7. The Electricity Department Newtown Substation at 180 Riddiford St. is being repurposed for modern needs while keeping the façade.

Submission on the Wellington City Council Draft Spatial Plan

After an intense few weeks of discussion and about what the DSP could mean for Newtown, we made our Association’s Submission on October 5th.

We have heard from the WCC Planning for Growth Team that they received around 3,000 submissions and the team has started the job of working through the feedback. 

Engagement Officer Clare Lundon wrote “There has certainly been a wide range of views and lots of interest in the Plan – it says a lot I think about how passionate Wellingtonians are about their community and this city. 

The Planning for Growth Team, my Engagement Team colleagues and I are very grateful to the work you have put into this project.  Thank you for your input at the various workshops over the last few weeks, and the well-considered formal submissions from your community. ”      

Next steps

There will be a chance for submitters to make an oral submission in November. We are waiting to hear about dates and how to register.

To be kept up to date with Planning for Growth you can sign up for their Newsletter here.

Making a submission on the Draft Spatial Plan – due by 5pm October 5th.

We agree with the need for more housing, but buildings of ‘at least 6 storeys’ in the residential streets of Newtown, as proposed in this plan (see the purple areas in the map below) would result in losing the very qualities, including sun and shelter, that make Newtown a great place to live. On the other hand we do support a proposal to intensify housing along the commercial streets – we have advocated for this for many years.

We hope you agree with us, and that you will make a submission to say so!

The guide below is put together by Martin Hanley and Anna Kemble Welch, please read it through to see the rationale for responses to the questions in the online submission form.

An alternative housing proposal for Newtown – a response to the WCC Draft Spatial Plan

In May 2019, in the Newtown Residents’ Association Submission to the first round of WCC consultation on Planning for Growth, we said that we would welcome intensification along the ‘Growth Spine’ of Adelaide Rd and Riddiford St. On the other hand tall buildings in the residential areas would result in losing the very qualities, including sun and shelter, that make Newtown a great place to live.

We were dismayed when the Draft Plan was published showing zoning for at least 6 storeys in most of central Newtown, and up to 4 storeys in much of the rest.

In response to this Martin Hanley (Association Vice President) and Ann Kemble Welch (Association Member), who are architects and urban designers, set to work to draw up ‘proof of concept’ plans to show that intensification along the main streets, and mostly within existing Suburban Centres zoning, could provide up to 2,000 or more new dwellings. This far exceeds the current projections of the Draft Spatial Plan for the whole Newtown area – the most recently released figures predict 487-759 new dwellings will be needed, to house 1289-2011 people.

Our Association would prefer the height limit to be 4 storeys in most of the area (as in our original submission) but if 6 storey developments are required they are better situated here than among one and two storey homes on the residential streets. This plan takes care to protect the historic shopfronts by building developments behind them.             

And here for an article about this proposal – “A Tightrope Act in Newtown” by Gregor Thompson, September 25th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131231

Meeting on the WCC Draft Spatial Plan, 16th September

We had a meeting to discuss the Draft Plan last night. Our Newtown Residents’ Association sponsored the meeting, but the ad hoc We Are Newtown group, which is a mix of Association members and other Newtownians, did much of the organising. This group came together in response to this Draft Plan. See https://www.facebook.com/weAreNewtownPoneke

The meeting was live streamed on the Newtown Residents’ Association Facebook Page, and you will find it here – https://www.facebook.com/NewtownResidentsAssociation/ or here https://www.facebook.com/NewtownResidentsAssociation/videos/1023328101429628

This was the programme –

Yadana Saw (who lives in Constable St): was the meeting chairperson. Mayor Andy Foster described the Spatial Planning process and the next steps of developing the new version of the District Plan Cr Iona Pannett – presented the goals of the Spatial Plan and what is intended for Newtown James Coyle spoke on behalf of the Residents’ Association, with concerns about the Draft Plan and proposals for alternative approaches, intensifying apartment building along the main spine of Riddiford St and parts of Mansfield St. Kassie McCluskey – Newtown homeowner, gave her views of the stress caused to residents by trying to deal with the plan in the middle of dealing with COVID-19 and made an impassioned plea for Council to work with the community. Ashok Jacob – from Renters United talked of the dire state of rental properties, how housing is expensive both to rent or buy and increasingly out of reach; more supply is needed. Hilary Watson – Newtown homeowner, gave a vision for a regenerated Adelaide Rd, asking the Council and Government to work together to make this a reality Roland Sapsford – activist, author of ‘Creating Communities not Demolishing Old Homes’  http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130136#more-130136 gave a talk along similar lines, emphasising that the best results come when things are done with people not to them. Yadana finished the meeting with reminding people about making a submission by October 5th. 
Cr Fleur Fitzsimons, Cr Laurie Foon and MP Paul Eagle were also in attendance, listening to the discussion and the different views.

Articles and responses to the WCC Draft Spatial Plan

Firstly, this is a link to the comprehensive Our City Tomorrow- Draft Spatial Plan

and another one to a Summary of Our City Tomorrow – Draft Spatial Plan

See more at https://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/consultations

Also see –https://www.keepwellingtonscharacter.com

A number of people have written articles about this, and we will add them here as we become aware of them.

An interview with the Mayor in Scoop, August 12th: ‘Andy Foster on saving Wellington’s character areas’.

Two articles from Scoop News taken from submissions to WCC at the meeting on 6th August which approved this plan going out for public consultation:

‘Creating Communities not Demolishing Old Homes’ – submission by Roland Sapsford http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130136#more-130136 

and

‘Two generations of support for Wellington’s character areas; warning of “foolish” deregulation’ – Submissions by Felicity Wong, the chair of Historic Places Wellington, and Gregor Thompson a student living in Newtown who also works with HPW. http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130086 

‘Safe as Houses’ in Capital Magazine, also written by Gregor Thompson https://capitalmag.co.nz/2020/08/13/safe-as-houses/

Why bother with consultation? by Benoit Pettit in Scoop, August 31st

‘The ‘Lefties’ who want less housing’ – Dileepa Fonseka’s piece for Newsroom, 31st August https://www.newsroom.co.nz/the-lefties-who-want-less-housing

What my Labour mates won’t admit about the Wellington Housing Market ‘-Dave Armstrong’s column in the Dominion Post and and on Stuff on 1st September

Comment: Why I wouldn’t buy an apartment in Wellington by Georgina Campbell in NZ Herald, 3rd September

Battle brewing over Wellington’s ‘heritage hellholes’‘ also by Georgina Campbell in NZ Herald, 4th September

‘Getting it wrong about population growth’ by Hugh Rennie in Scoop, 4th September http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=130749

‘‘Keeping Wellington’s character’ means keeping people in cold and mouldy homes’ by Isla Stewart in The Spinoff, 4th September

Want to build high-rise homes for 74,000 more people in Wellington? Build consensus first‘ by Max Rashbrooke in The Guardian, 6th September

“Defending the Streets of Newtown” by James Fraser September 24th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131204#comment-1764273

“A Tightrope Act in Newtown” by Gregor Thompson September 25th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131231

“Left against left – but there is common ground” by Ben Schrader, September 30th http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=131360

Further Action about the WCC Draft Spatial Plan

Come to our Public Meeting on Wednesday 16th September, 

7.30-9.00pm at the Salvation Army Hall, 4 Normanby St

Learn more about the proposals, ask questions, and join in the discussion about alternatives for achieving the goal of increased housing in Newtown.

Find out more about the plans:

On the WCC website: https://planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz/spatial-plan -follow the links and download the full Draft Spatial Plan, or the Summary of Our City Tomorrow (PDF).

Go to the Library or Newtown Community and Cultural Centre and ask to see the hard copy Summary of Our City Tomorrow: A Draft Spatial Plan

The WCC Planning for Growth Team will be at the Newtown Market on Saturday 19th September, 9am-1pm – an opportunity to see the proposals and ask questions.

Have a look at https://www.keepwellingtonscharacter.com  

Link with Newtown residents concerned about these plans

On Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/weAreNewtownPoneke

On Instagram -@we-are-newtown-poneke

Email – Newtown Residents’ Association – newtownwellington@gmail.com

The Draft Spatial Plan and what it means for Newtown- report on the August meeting.

This was the topic of the Residents’ Association Zoom meeting on Monday 17th August.

Cr Iona Pannett introduced the topic, saying that Council plans to accommodate 50,000 – 80,000 more people by 2040, and the Draft Spatial Plan is a response, showing proposals for building apartment blocks of up to 6 storeys in City Centre and the Inner City Suburbs.

Martin Hanley and Anna Kemble Welch responded, saying that while there has been longstanding support within the Newtown Residents’ Association for increased density along what used to be called the ‘Growth Spine’, eg Adelaide Road and Riddiford St, having blanket permission for 6 storey developments across most of Newtown would devastate the suburb. When buildings are appropriate to the environment they can easily go to 4 to 6 stories, and there are areas where this would be appropriate. The plan needs to be more specific about heights appropriate to specific areas.

The meeting continued with a wide ranging discussion around aspects of the plan.

The map below shows why there is so much concern from our residents. Only the area marked for Type 2 housing will still have the pre-1930s character controls that currently exist across the whole area. See here for the full Draft Plan.

The Planning for Growth vision of future development in Newtown – screen shot taken from the WCC video “Planning for Growth – Inner Suburbs”. The videos can be seen here- https://planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz/resources1/video-library