News: Informal consultation on Featherston Masterplan opens

25 July 2022

This week the South Wairarapa District Council is launching the informal consultation stage of the Featherston Masterplan proposal.

Council’s planners have already talked to multiple community groups and agencies to get a feel for what is important to the town, and now we have two concept options to put before the community.

These proposals are thinking very widely and 30 years into the future. Planners have heard about the need for more and affordable housing and the need to keep the main street vibrant. The two options presented would, in different ways, help assist this.

Change to section sizes

A major takeaway from the report, and perhaps the most profound one, is that the plan will allow for smaller sections in parts of the town. This will free up subdivision in these areas. Currently the minimum lot size across Featherston is 500 square metres. In the proposed “medium density zone” – around the train station and main street – this would drop to 200sqm, allowing for the likes of town houses and apartments.

The “general residential” zone would have a minimum size of 300sqm. This will be of help to many property owners who currently have 800-900sqm lots but who cannot subdivide at present.

Options proposed

Option one proposes future increased density around the train station and the main street.

Option two proposes moving the train station to the main street area and concentrating the density into the centre of town and south. While moving the station may seem radical, an economic report from Mike Cullen of Urbacity suggests it has its place as an idea to bring more foot traffic into town and to give a wider range of “medium density” housing. However, it does involve expense.

Chief Executive Harry Wilson says these options – particularly option two – are big picture ideas and the finer details are yet to be sorted out.

“The idea of informal consultation is to take the pulse on how Featherston residents generally feel about these proposals for providing for more people, making the main street more usable, pleasant and economically viable.

“This is a chance to imagine Featherston’s future. It’s not just about housing, it’s about asking people about what they want to include and value most.”

The projected population growth of Featherston over the next 30 years is over 1,700, meaning that more than 900 houses may be needed. Featherston is considered a key location in the Wellington region for growth because of the accessibility of the train station and proximity to Wellington.

Feedback sought

To give feedback, residents are being asked to read the Foundation Discussion Document for more information and complete a survey on the Council website. Hard copies of both documents are in our three libraries. An economic report by Urbacity consultant Mike Cullen is also on the site.

After feedback closes on August 19, the feedback will be used to guide the Draft Master Plan. Hearings and formal consultation will follow. The plan is expected to be finalised and implemented early next year.

Mike Cullen economic report
Foundation Discussion Document
• Our Masterplan page

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