Lower Hutt’s population has grown in recent years. Unfortunately house building has not kept pace with this growth, and population growth is set to continue. The shortage of houses is contributing to a steep rise in the cost of buying and renting houses as well as an increase in homelessness. This issue is not just affecting Lower Hutt, but is being seen around New Zealand.
In order to tackle the national housing shortage, the government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development instructs councils to allow greater density housing, including six-storey buildings, in residential areas within a walkable distance of city and metropolitan centres and rapid transit stops, like the train stations of Lower Hutt.
Councils are also required to allow increased density and building heights in other areas, based on the demand for housing in that area and how easy it is to access commercial centres and community services through active and public transport.
However, councils are still able to restrict housing density and building heights in areas in some specific circumstances (called ‘qualifying matters’). This includes where it is necessary protect historic heritage and ecological sites, retain public parks and manage natural hazard risk.
We are interested in hearing your views on the walkable neighbourhoods of Lower Hutt, and how greater housing density (including six-storey buildings) should be enabled in these areas. In particular, we would like to hear your thoughts on:
- What you think is a reasonable distance to walk to a commercial area that provides a wide range of shops, commercial services and community facilities.
- What you think is a reasonable distance to walk to our local train stations.
- Where else you think is suitable for additional housing. This could be areas with good access to recreation opportunities (like our local parks, the Wellington Harbour and the Hutt River), areas with good access to employment and education opportunities, or anything else that you think makes for a great location for people to live.
- What you think would make our neighbourhoods more walkable. This could be things that make the area more enjoyable (like street trees and parks), things that make you feel safer (like good lighting and pedestrian crossings) or anything else you think makes for a high quality, walkable neighbourhood.
- What you like to see in the design of higher density housing like terrace houses and low-level apartments. This could be things like the appearance of new buildings from the street or other public spaces, building materials and landscaping, how storm-water is managed, or anything else you think makes for high quality housing.
Consultation has closed.