Peacocke Neighbourhood Centres: spacing and ratio per dwelling

As part of Living Streets Kirikiriroa/Hamilton’s submission to the Peacocke Plan change 5, we said we are interested in a decision on Neighbourhood Centres/shops (NC). It was noticed that the Peacocke Structure Plan (PSP) Retail Assessment used a catchment range of 1,000-1,200 households/dwellings per NC. We will look at this in more detail later in this post. But first, looking at the image below we see existing NC circles. At the edge of page 23, we see catchments overlapped, allowing more competition between NCs. In contrast, in the circles on page 25 the overlap is reduced, meaning people are limited to only one NC within walking distance.

To get a visual idea of what the Peacocke neighbourhood looks when compared with existing NCs, the image below shows existing NCs in Hamilton’s southwest.  What we see is that as development moves east, walkable access to NCs reduces. Three things are worth noting on my image, one being the star without circle on Lewis St, which is an auto service centre alongside a hall and a school. In a utopian setting it should have a dairy; this has not happened and the land originally set aside as commercial has been repurposed for housing. Second, the dot on the corner of Fitzroy Ave was, in the 1970s, also intended for an NC: again, this land was repurposed for housing. Third, the extra star with a circle in the Fitzroy area is a new neighbourhood centre with a daycare centre alongside, on the corner of Cabourne Dr and Briannarose Dr, which is only the second dairy of this type to have opened in the last decade, the other being in the north of Rototuna, in Borman Rd.

Of concern is the Peacocke Retail Assessment consultant’s opinion that having less NCs is more appropriate (just 7 instead of 10 NCs). The consultant stated that ‘…as described in Configuration 1 would be the more appropriate outcome’ (page 23-24&26).   If we look back to prior to the 1960s, before Hamilton adopted District Plan zoning-type rules, we see that in Melville and Bader we had about 500 dwellings (1,300 people) per NC or one NC per nominal 50 hectares. Under District planning rules the urban area of Hamilton south west increased to an average of 600 dwellings (1,700 people) per NC or one NC per 69 hectares. Going with the consultant’s opinion (Configuration 1) this would increase to 868 dwellings (2,204 people) per NC, or one NC per 81 hectares. This is over a third more dwellings per NC than existed (and which are still proving to be sustainable) prior to the 1960s District Planning rules.

The Climate Change Commission writes that ‘researchers have recommended a target to double the proportion of trips by walking to 25% of all trips by 2050’*.  The PSP Retail Assessment appears to be a business as usual report in line with the type of District Plan outcomes that push out the walking distance between NCs and reduce competition between NCs.

*Chapter 4b: Reducing emissions – opportunities and challenges across sectors Transport, buildings and urban form – page 10

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