Central City Transformation Plan

Find out about our Central City Transformation Plan that aims to change Lower Hutt.

About the Central City Transformation Plan

The CCTP is the culmination of 3 decades of formal planning and community consultation that seeks to re-energise a city centre firmly focused on Hutt River/Te Awa Kairangi.

The plan shows how a dynamic 24-hour city could be developed successfully with the river as its centrepiece. It also proves the need for infrastructure and private investment in residential and commercial development throughout Hutt City.

Principles and related projects

The CCTP is based on 9 principles and related projects, including:

Hutt City's CBD is too spread out. Traditional on-street shopping is spread too thinly to create the variety and intensity that characterises successful city centres.


  • Gradually concentrate retail within a pedestrian-orientated area bounded by Dudley and Margaret streets, Queens Drive and Laings Road.
  • Introduce a network of minor streets and lanes including east-west connections that open up the core central city to the river.

The central city’s street layout evolved piecemeal from several early country roads, resulting in a flawed street pattern which is confusing to visitors.


  • Create a distinctive and legible route from State Highway 2 across the relocated Melling Bridge at Queens Drive and along Queens Drive to Ewen Bridge,
  • reconfigure the intersection of Laings Road and Queens Drive, and
  • manage pedestrian-vehicle conflict at Margaret Street and other east-west streets and lanes.

Historically, commercial development focused on High Street and Queens Drive and the mainly north-south orientation of streets and the existing stop banks have cut off the river from the city’s urban centre. RiverLink is the one opportunity on the horizon to bring the river and city core together, creating a more distinctive character and a more economically competitive area.


In line with Council’s plans for a riverside promenade:

  • provide a broad high-amenity walkway along the stop bank between Ewen and Melling bridges,
  • encourage high-quality medium-rise apartments with lower levels able to accommodate cafes, restaurants, retail and commerce, and
  • provide east-west connections linking the central city core to the river and beyond, over the river to Alicetown, Melling and the Western Hills.

The northern part of the central city is a distinct area with large format retail, low-rise offices and ample off-street parking. This "North Central" area is economically healthier than much of the central city. The street pattern is different from the rest of the city centre resulting in awkwardly shaped intersections (together with commercial signage) that make the streetscape visually chaotic.


  • following the relocation of Melling Bridge, roundabouts are removed and Melling Link becomes fully part of the local street grid,
  • a comprehensive tree planting programme will improve the visual character of the area,
  • more emphasis on strip shopping at the intersection of High and Brunswick streets and Melling Road, which could become the nucleus of a future urban village.

The CCTP is a long-term strategy document providing detailed guidance for:

  • Councillors and Council officers
  • community
  • developers and investors
  • infrastructure providers,
  • others who will help shape the future of the central city.

It provides the detail, evidence and insight for Council to advance its vision of rejuvenating Lower Hutt.

More information: