Guidelines for the future development of Whangaparaoa’s town centre are to be discussed with the community early next year, after the release of the draft Whangaparaoa Centre Plan.
The plan covers the area along Whangaparaoa Road from New World to the commercial area east of Wade River Rd. It was commissioned by the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board from former Rodney District Council planner Jason Evans of ET Urban Design. The local board approved funding of $25,000 for the work in April, 2016.
The plan points out that much of the development in this region has been “vehicle based retail”, resulting in poor quality public spaces with minimal landscaping to make views from the main road more attractive, as well as a lack of walking and cycling infrastructure.
Community feedback during the preparation of the plan demonstrated a desire to see the town centre made more attractive. “The natural infrastructure of beaches, reserves and rolling landscape character of Whangaparaoa is contrasted by the often poor quality urban environment of strip retail development, unattractive buildings and wide, featureless roading corridors,” the report says.
One feature identified as lacking is a “sense of arrival” to the town centre. Suggestions to help remedy this include the redevelopment of Whangaparaoa Community Hall and encouraging and supporting the owners of Coast Plaza “to improve the relationship and attractiveness of buildings that define pedestrian spaces”.
A new public space linking the library with Coast Plaza is suggested, along with a reduction in car parking to make it more pedestrian-friendly. Again with pedestrians in mind, a low speed zone on Whangaparaoa Road between Link Crescent and Wade River Road is also proposed.
Town centre plans for Silverdale and Orewa have been already completed. They are non-statutory, but are used to guide Auckland Council’s decision making as the area develops.
The local board plans to obtain public feedback on this plan from February 19–March 26.