A growing and changing city and new government rules on urban development means we need to take a fresh look at how business fits into the big picture of Lower Hutt.
Business and commerce are a critical part of any city. Lower Hutt has several main areas of business and commercial activity, and many small ‘corner shop’ zones in residential areas.
Business, industry and the district plan
The district plan is the city’s set of rules that say where different activities can take place, where we can build factories, offices or larger shops and where we can build houses, schools and hospitals.
The current review of the district plan needs to look at the existing zones for different activities to see if they need to be changed. Some new rules about what can be built, and where, will be needed in line with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development.
Business, commercial and industrial zones
The main business areas are Lower Hutt city centre, Petone, Alicetown and the Hutt Road to Melling, Naenae centre, Eastern Hutt Road in Taita, Seaview and Gracefield. There are also small business and commercial zones in Wainuiomata and Stokes Valley.
Business and industrial activities are best concentrated in specific areas for a number of reasons:
- It is convenient for customers to go to one area to do all their shopping rather than have to travel to several different places.
- Many businesses supply goods or services to other businesses and it makes sense for them to be close to their main customers.
- It would be disruptive to have workers and traffic from a commercial or industrial area coming and going all day through residential streets.
- Industrial activities are often noisy or dirty and would be undesirable close to housing.
Business areas and housing
The main pressure on land development over the next 20 or 30 years will be from housing. There is already a shortage of housing in Lower Hutt, and by 2047 the growing population is predicted to need around 9600 additional dwellings.
At present there is very little mixed use commercial and residential development in Lower Hutt. If we are to find space for population growth, then we have to consider more residential development in urban and commercial centres.
The National Policy Statement on Urban Development says councils must allow residential buildings of up to at least six storeys in city centre zones, areas within walkable distance of the centre, and areas within walkable distance of rapid transit stops (train stations).
Buildings of this size fit in well with the character of city centre zones. Creating more residential buildings in business areas also brings demand for shops, cafes and restaurants that can revitalise urban centres.
By keeping an eye on business demand it will be possible to ensure that we balance this with demand for housing to enable businesses to grow. However, residential apartments can easily include office and shop space on lower floors so that business space is not lost.
It is also important not to allow too much housing in areas where industrial businesses may need to operate. Although industrial activity in Lower Hutt is not expected to increase, and may even decrease, if we change zones to allow housing to spread into areas previously set aside for noisy or disruptive activity then we create an obstacle for that kind of industry in the future.
Frequently asked questions
View the frequently asked questions.
You can contact our district plan team at: firstname.lastname@example.org