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Lower Hutt well positioned for housing growth

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A region-wide assessment of how Wellington’s cities will meet growing housing demand suggests Lower Hutt is well placed to manage future growth.

The Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment is a collaboration of five Wellington councils to evaluate whether they have the potential to meet projected housing and business demand out to 2047. This work is required under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016, and is designed to help councils ensure they can meet the needs of their communities now and into the future.

Most of Lower Hutt’s greenfield potential for traditional housing was developed by the 1980s, and the assessment points out that greenfield land will provide less than a quarter of the required housing over the next three decades.

Council Chief Executive Jo Miller says a recent district plan change and a number of initiatives, including RiverLink, and work now underway to review the District Plan, develop a spatial plan for the city and a new housing strategy will ensure housing demand in the city is strategically managed.

This first three-yearly assessment is based on medium and high-growth population projections that estimate Lower Hutt’s population will grow by between 9515 and 20,359 people by 2047 from a 2017 baseline.

The assessment found:

- That to accommodate this growth, Lower Hutt will need between 6105 and 11,256 new homes by 2047

- Currently, Lower Hutt has feasible greenfield land for 1316 dwellings, with infill, redevelopment and residential intensification adding capacity for another 4160 homes

- Under the population projections, the city will have a shortfall of development capacity of between 1632 and 6783 dwellings.

The assessment didn’t take into account District Plan Change 43 - a Council initiative approved earlier this week - which will address housing supply and affordability. It will do this by reducing barriers to traditional infill and minor dwellings and introduce medium density housing to eight targeted suburban centres.

"But there’s still a lot of work to be done, Jo Miller says. "Since 2001, house prices have increased more than three times faster than household incomes and rent rises have also outstripped income increases."

"As a result, we’ve had accommodation eating up far too much of people’s incomes and that hurts our economy. We’ve needed to confront a rise in homelessness that’s pushing families - particularly children - into desperate straits, and we have many young people and working families unable to buy their first homes.

"We as a city need to think about how we will manage the inevitable changes ahead. In the coming months and years, we’ll be asking our communities for their views on how we can accommodate change and how we want our city to develop and look."

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