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.

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