Category Archives: News

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. 

Minutes of the Association Meeting, May 2021

Notes from the Residents’ Association Meeting 17th May 2021 

Jared Corston (WCC) gave a detailed presentation outlining the work the Council are doing to gather data on, and better understand, the demographics and characteristics of people living in Newtown and other catchment areas. This information will be used to plan for the needs of communities and had a particular focus on the role of Community Centres in delivering Council services and facilities to those most in need.

Ideas were floated about more green space utilisation and fruit tree planting. 

The meeting also noted the need to follow up with the Council area parking plan, and that the outcome of the Spatial plan consultation w is due out later in June.

 There is still some funding for neighbourly events. This will need to be returned to the council if not spent. Please can anyone /or group who has an idea for an event (and the energy to work to make it happen) contact Rhona.

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.

WCC Proposals for some time limits in carparks.

Wellington City Council are asking for feed back on some changes in local carparks – Newtown Park, Hanson St and Alexandra Park. In all three there are proposals for establishing mobility parking spaces and time limited parking, with the intention of supporting short term parking over long term commuter parking spaces and improving accessibility to parks and sports fields.

 Consultation closes 5pm, Friday 16 April 2021.

These are the detailed proposals –

Notes from the Residents’ Association Meeting 15th March 2021

  1. Reflection on the March 15th massacre 2019, and the lasting positive legacy for community solidarity
  2. Representatives from the Greater Wellington Regional Council presented the draft Regional Land Transport plan and the draft Regional Public transport plan, on which they were seeking feedback.
  3. The many roadworks around Newtown were signaled.
  4. Reminders were shared of events around Newtown (Open Studios, the Garage sale and Neighbour’s day events).
  5. The meeting was informed of Residents Association input to the review of the Zoo Bar liquor license.
  6. An update was given by Councilor Foon about the engagement / consultation process exploring the formation of a Māori seat on the council, and about the reversal of proposed library cuts.

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

Annual General Meeting

The Association’s 2020 AGM was held on Monday 21st September 2020.

There was a simple agenda:

Presentation of the President’s Annual Report – see below

Presentation of the Treasurer’s report

Election of Officers. The Executive for 2020-2021 is-

President:  Rhona Carson

Secretary: No nominations. Rhona Carson will continue in the meantime.

Treasurer:  no nominations. A possible recruit for the New Year; Jane Patterson will be in an acting role till then.

Vice Presidents:  Martin Hanley, Jane Patterson

Executive: Carol Comber, Steve Cosgrove (minutes secretary), James Coyle, Peter Frater,  Marion Leighton, Sam Somers.

The full minutes of the meeting will be posted in the near future.