By DAVID HILL
A proposal to create a new town centre zone at Ravenswood has been met with a mixed reaction.
The Waimakariri District Council has expressed concerns at the proposals in the private plan change request submitted by Ravenswood Developments Ltd, which was notified this month.
But Woodend-Sefton Community Board chairwoman Shona Powell suspects the development is inevitable, although the board has yet to discuss the proposal.
“Personally, I see that it certainly has pros and cons, but the way I look at it, where is the retail going to go if it doesn’t go here? Rangiora is pushing out in all directions and it runs the risk of becoming disjointed, while development opportunities in Kaiapoi are limited.”
The biggest challenge with developing a new town centre at Ravenswood is access, because of traffic volumes on State Highway 1, Ms Powell says. “It’s going to happen anyway, but the big question is how do people get there safely?
“The only safe way to get into Ravenswood is by private car. There’s no bus and no safe access for walkers and cyclists.”
With the retail developments in the area set to grow, she believes now is the time to look at creating a Woodend/Pegasus promotions group to support local businesses.
At present, Woodend and Pegasus come under the Kaiapoi Promotions Association.
“There are a lot of home-based businesses in the area and I think people are surprised at just how many businesses there are just retail.”
Ms Powell says the board will be meeting this week to discuss whether to make a submission before the initial consultation period ends on December 4.
The council’s development planning manager, Trevor Ellis, says council staff had planned to review the zoning as part of the District Plan review, with a view to opening up more commercial space.
“The council has for some time been looking at the zoning in the area and looking at where the key activity centres should be and Ravenswood is looking to drive that forward.
“The proposal enables more commercial floor space which is good for the district in potentially creating more jobs and more commercial activity.”
Ravenswood’s proposal is for 12.8 hectares to be rezoned as business zone 1 (town centre zone), which would include 35,000 square metres of retail floor space.
But the council has concerns with the overall proposal and will be making a submission.
Concerns include “the extent of the floor space” and the potential impact on other centres, Mr Ellis says.
“The submission will be around the scale of the commercial centre and seeking a more accurate plan and clearer objectives.”
There will be a further submission period in the New Year, where interested parties can review submissions before public hearings in front of an independent commissioner.affiliate link traceGOLF NIKE SHOES