What do you want for your city?

Development of the area we now call Lower Hutt began around 600 years ago when Tangata Whenua first settled in the region.

By the time Pākehā started arriving in numbers in 1840, there were a number of Te Ātiawa settlements, mainly along the Pito-One/Petone foreshore and Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River, which were part of a regional trading network.

Since that time, Lower Hutt’s growth has accelerated into what is now the most densely populated flood plain in New Zealand.

The people of Lower Hutt will soon have the opportunity to help decide how they want the evolution of their city to continue over the decades ahead.

Our city is growing and changing rapidly.  An analysis of future housing demand for Lower Hutt suggests we will need to make space for up to another 9600 households in the city between 2017 and 2047. How Lower Hutt manages this growth, while protecting the natural environment and historic heritage that makes the city unique, as well as sustaining the economic health of the city will be the focus of much work and public discussion over the coming months and years.

Hutt City Council is preparing to review its District Plan – Lower Hutt’s rule book for land use and development. The new revised District Plan will provide a blueprint for future development, while protecting cultural and natural heritage and the environment around us. Its rules and policies will align with Council’s vision of making Lower Hutt a place where all of its people can thrive.

Council Chief Executive Jo Miller says listening to residents’ ideas and concerns will be front and centre of the District Plan review. Council will partner with mana whenua throughout the review to ensure their views and aspirations are fully taken into account.

Over the coming months, Council will provide more information on the review process and start discussions with local communities and groups with specific interests in the city’s future.

“The District Plan is large and complex but it affects every single one of us living in Lower Hutt and every business,” Jo says.

“It influences housing availability and affordability, how our city will look, how we’ll adapt to and manage climate change right down to what you and your neighbours can do on your properties, whether you can build a second house on your land or if a business can set up next door,” she says.

“So it’s vitally important that everyone with an interest in how Lower Hutt evolves over the coming decades takes an active interest in this review.”

Council is now in the early stages of the review, evaluating the current District Plan and examining issues and options that need to be taken into account when formulating a draft District Plan for consultation.

But Lower Hutt doesn’t have complete control over how the city develops. Central Government and the Greater Wellington Regional Council have policies that provide legal direction on how important issues should be addressed. These include how we provide for urban growth, how we protect special areas and features and protect ourselves against natural hazards and climate change. This direction will need to be taken into account throughout the District Plan review.

Key areas to be covered by the District Plan review:

  • Residential development – how we make room for a growing population and how the city will look, feel and operate
  • Indigenous biodiversity – what value do we put on our natural heritage?
  • Historic and cultural heritage – how do we protect our past?
  • Natural hazards and climate change – how we design the city to cope with, earthquakes, rising sea levels and severe weather events.

What happens next?

While there will be opportunities for formal submissions during the District Plan review, over the next few months we will provide more information on what’s ahead and we’ll be asking you what you want for your city and what is important to you about how Lower Hutt develops.

More information can be found at: www.huttcity.govt.nz/Your-Council/Projects/district-plan-review

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