Newsletter 21:13 9th Dec 2021
Draft District Plan Submissions
Have you made a submission yet?  They are due by 5pm on Tuesday 14th December. It is important for all voices to be heard, so if you have opinions about the proposals in the Draft District Plan do tell the Wellington City Council about them! 

On the WCC Website you will find information about the DDP, and also helpful videos about how to read and understand the plan and about how to make a submission. There is a also a Friend of Submitters service provided by the Council, to remove barriers and foster participation in the District Plan review process. Emily Bayliss is a qualified planner who is fully independent and has had no involvement in developing the Draft District Plan, and she can help you make your submission. A brief introduction from Emily is available here.  To contact her for assistance please email or phone 027 803 0080.

If you are familiar enough with the Draft District Plan to know which provisions you particularly want to pay attention to you can either comment directly on the e-plan or in an email - possibly but not necessarily using the WCC PDF form - in which you identify the part of the plan concerned, say whether you support or oppose the provisions or wish to have them amended, and give your reasons for this. This makes it easier for the WCC Officers to identify which aspects of the plan might need attention and amendment. However if your submission doesn't easily fit into this format you can write a narrative submission and email it to  Whatever you do make sure you include your name and contact details, and say if you would like to take part in a round table discussion with Councillors and other submitters in early 2022. 
During the consultation about the Wellington City Council Spatial Plan the public conversation about the City's housing needs was very one-sided. A lot of people became convinced by the argument that planning rules are the barrier to the provision of warm, dry affordable homes and that deregulation via 'an ambitious spatial plan' is the answer, and protesters, either individuals or Residents' Associations like ours, were (and still are) dismissed as NIMBYs.  However there are many Wellingtonians who want these same good outcomes but are firm believers that good urban planning requires different solutions, and they have now grouped together to form this new organisation. 
Have a look at the website  for more about the LIVE WELLington proposals, and explore the resources they have amassed.  They have just published a helpful guide to making Draft District Plan submissions, which you will find here:
Newtown and the Draft District Plan
The Newtown Residents' Association submission on the Draft Plan is still a work in progress, but it will echo our submission on the Draft Spatial Plan. The District Plan is creating rules to support the Spatial Plan, and the issues and concerns haven't changed. Our Spatial Plan Submission is here.  Followers of this Newsletter will know that even before the Planning for Growth consultation started we had been advocating for increasing housing density along the transport corridors and on under-utilised commercial and industrial sites in and around the Newtown suburban centre.  Careful mapping has shown that more than 2000 new homes can be provided by selective upzoning of areas where substantial mixed use apartment developments can be accommodated without significant damage to the rest of residential Newtown. We love Newtown and would love to share our unique suburb with more people, but if the District Plan goes through in it's current form we will lose the very qualities that make sunny sheltered Newtown a great place to live.
The left hand image is taken from the video that WCC used to publicise the draft spatial plan at the start of the consultation, and shows what the Council expects and promotes for the future of Newtown. The second is the map from the Draft District Plan, see here for a closer look.  Each of those sketched high rise blocks would shade a wide area of low rise neighbours, and the blanket upzoning shows that they can be pepper potted wherever a developer decides.  This sort of developer-led change to our area has no connection with good urban design or 'density done well'. The loss of sunshine is often dismissed, by saying that increased housing should have priority and sunshine is an unnecessary amenity, but we maintain that with good planning it doesn't need to be 'either or'. Sunshine is important, and has its own contribution to combating climate change - this paper is republished as a reminder.  The proposed developments would also have devastating effects on the area's established bio-diversity as buildings cover more and more of the suburb and the remaining gardens get more and more shaded.

It sometimes seems as though Newtown has been especially targeted by people who have no appreciation for it's unique qualities, but of course large areas of our City are facing these challenges. We are well aware that Government policy in the form of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development has instructed Councils to enable 'at least 6 storeys' in many urban areas, and from the start we have protested that this Policy with its 'one size fits all' approach is misguided and will have poor outcomes. Unlike some other local authorities our Council has accepted these requirements without protest, made little attempt to consider 'qualifying matters', and even increased their scope by increasing the 'walkable catchments' within which these rules apply.  We would really like our Councillors to reconsider this stance, and to work towards a future that enhances the liveability of our City and increases the well being of all residents, while also increasing the housing supply in a thoughtful and well planned fashion. The current District Plan rules are not the primary cause of the current housing crisis, which has much more to do with wider societal factors and a long term lack of government investment in the sector, and sweeping the rules away will cause more problems than it solves.
The Draft District Plan will be followed by the
Proposed District Plan 
This is the first of two stages of District Plan submissions.  At this stage it is a 'non statutory draft' and the submissions go to Wellington City Council. They will be considered and if the points made are convincing enough the WCC Planners will make amendments to the Draft Plan. Its important to note that there will be substantial changes to the Draft Plan in any case, because the Government has proposed new Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) that must be incorporated into the District Plan. They are contained in the Resource Management (Enabling Housing and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, which is currently before Parliament, having had its second reading.

The amended Draft District Plan is expected to be discussed by Wellington City Council in May 2022, and when passed by the Councillors it will be notified as a Proposed District Plan. There will then be a new call for submissions, and this time the consultation will be a statutory process under the Resource Management Act.
Other Consultations: LGWM and the Bike Path Network
The Lets Get Wellington Moving Submissions are due tomorrow, Friday10th December, at 5 pm. See here -

And the Bike Network Plan submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday 14th December- 

The Residents' Association has made a submission, approving of the proposals for a Bike Path Network but asking to be included in discussions as the details are worked out.  Submission on the WCC Bike Network Plan

However a trial of establishing a path from Mein St along Riddiford St and Adelaide Rd into the City has already been agreed by Council, and now they are asking for input on your experiences of using this route. See here for more information and for a survey to complete.

Any issues which arise with this Bike Path will become obvious, in practice, and can be considered and addressed as the trial goes on.

Newtown Residents' Association Membership 
Would you like to join us?

Anyone who has an interest in Newtown and the surrounding suburbs can join, and it is a great way to show support for the Association. It only costs a gold coin, because we don't want there to be any financial barrier to joining. 
To join, or renew membership, please fill in this form: Newtown Residents’ Association Membership Form. However you don’t have to be a member to come to our meetings – everyone is welcome!
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