The latest iteration of designs for Masterton’s town centre revamp have been made public, but no matter what the designs of walkways and pedestrian spaces, carparks remain a issue for many business stakeholders.
The latest designs are the final versions in the “developed designs” stage, where key elements are in place.
Masterton District Council will make a decision on them on June 26, before moving to a “detailed design” stage, where materials and the likes of tree types are finalised. But car parks are unlikely to change significantly in that stage.
Bruce St is one of the key elements in the designs, and New World supermarket owner Clive Webber is blunt in his assessment of the plans that would see 20 fewer car parks on the street.
“It is a bullet to the head for New World, for Entice [cafe], and for Aratoi [museum and gallery],” he said.
He says changes to the New World carpark layout would lead to the loss of a further four or five car parks from an original total of about 100.
“If you take away 25 per cent of my car parks you take away 25 per cent of my business.”
Webber said while upgrading the footpath to create a walkway on Bruce St between Queen Elizabeth Park and Queen St might be attractive – and perhaps even be good for New World if it didn’t mean losing car parks – people didn’t naturally move from enjoying the park to wanting to be in a retail environment.
“Personally, I don’t see the linkage,” he said.
Parts of the designs have already been tweaked after consultation, and work by the Town Centre Reference Group, which consists of community representatives, council staff and elected members.
Chairman, councillor Jonathan Hooker, said a lot of work had been done over the last six months with car parks a common focus.
“Parking has been a concern among stakeholders and, because of this, we’ve delved deeper into Masterton’s parking capacity and demand.
“That exercise has shown us there is demand for some additional parking around lower Queen Street on the busiest days, but other areas including Bruce and Park Street are fairly well serviced with numerous carparks within walking distance.”
That includes suggesting supermarket shoppers park in Farriers – an idea that Webber is sceptical about.
“People don’t want to push trolleys – unless they’re stealing them.”
Hooker said the council was investigating areas around the town centre where parking could be increased, such as along Park Avenue, or how existing carparks may be optimised.
“We’ve worked hard to balance concerns around the changes with trying to achieve the objectives for each of the three priority projects,” Hooker said.
“That includes bringing more greenery into town, encouraging east-west foot traffic and providing spaces for people to enjoy our town centre.”
What’s changed in the latest designs
Bruce St: Parking added on south side, removal of container outside ConArt, reconfiguration of ramp and seating area on the corner of Bruce and Dixon Streets, addition of canop
y outside i-Site.
Park St: Reconfiguration of Park Street/Dixon Street corner to assist with petrol tanker access into Parkview, lowering and removal of planted areas to improve sight lines into businesses.
Queen St: Addition of parks by changing some parking back to angled parking, loading zone added near corner of Bannister and Queen, addition of non-defined parking on eastern side of Queen.