City centre regeneration

Find out how we're turning Lower Hutt into a city of the future.

The Central City Transformation Plan

How will our central city look in 20 or 40 years' time? A Council project, using urban planners, economists, infrastructure experts and local and regional stakeholders has been examining the possibilities.

We've been working with the community to consider how to best make our dream of creating a true river city become reality.

The Central City Transformation Plan (CCTP) is a framework that aims to stimulate and coordinate the thinking around the design and development of the central city.

It shows how a dynamic 24-hour city, with the river as its centrepiece, could be developed successfully. The CCTP strengthens the case for infrastructure investment and private investment in central Lower Hutt.

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

Making Places

The CBD Making Places project has kicked off to transform the Lower Hutt CBD by 2030.

Making Places plays an important role to maximise the potential of our Central Business District by making it more attractive to businesses and residents. It will give developers and our community a strong direction to drive vibrancy and economic growth.

Our city faces future challenges such as an ageing population, low population increases and modest economic growth. Making Places can help to reverse these trends by attracting, growing, and retaining talent that will support creativity, productivity, and prosperity for the city.

Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi (RiverLink)

Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi, the project previously referred to as RiverLink, will deliver crucial flood protection and river restoration work, improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes, local roads and the SH2 Melling Interchange for the local community. It will also help revitalise Lower Hutt’s city centre and provide the foundation for a new riverside promenade.

The research behind the CCTP confirms the Te Awa Kairangi project is the one opportunity for Lower Hutt to bring the river to its rightful place in the central city, and the only opportunity on the horizon to reinvigorate the broader central city.

Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi (RiverLink)

RiverLink consent phase documentation

Principles and related projects

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

Consolidating the city’s core

Lower Hutt’s central city 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.

A clear, distinct route between the bridges

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.

Turn to face the river

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. Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi (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.

North Central

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

For more information