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No need to change road name – FCB

Underhill Rd in Greytown. PHOTOS/EMILY IRELAND

Featherston Community Board members have passed the buck on a road naming conundrum, saying it isn’t an issue for their residents.

Half of Underhill Rd is in Greytown and the other half is in Featherston, divided by the Tauherenikau River.

But because the same numbering system is used on both sides of the river, there are duplicate addresses in both towns.

At last month’s Greytown Community Board meeting, elected members discussed a report on the renaming of the road after complaints laid by New Zealand Post in 2019.

They decided to consult with residents and property owners on Underhill Rd “to determine if a road name change would be supported and result in a benefit to the community”.

Last week, Featherston Community Board members were quick to dismiss any need for consultation in their town.

They didn’t think the road name was an issue and said if Greytown wanted to change the name of Underhill Rd on their side, they could do so.

South Wairarapa councillor Colin Olds, who is an appointed member of the Featherston Community Board, said he was conscious of the cost of consultation for ratepayers.

“It’s a storm in a teacup from my view.

“Reading the report on the road, it doesn’t seem to be a problem.”

The report to the community board outlined correspondence from New Zealand Post in 2019 stating they were having ongoing problems with mail delivery to Underhill Rd residents.

That same year, the Greytown Community Board recommended the South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] consult with the community regarding the renaming of Underhill Rd.

This consultation hasn’t happened yet.

Instead, South Wairarapa District Council commissioned a consultant to do an assessment of the need to rename all or part of Underhill Rd, as per its road renaming policy.

The results of this came back to council just over two years later.

As part of the assessment, emergency services, and New Zealand Post were consulted.

All noted there had been no incidents of note regarding any confusion with Underhill Rd and the consultant concluded that there was no clear benefit to the community on renaming Underhill Rd, based on the council’s policy for changing existing road names.

Olds said the council had bigger priorities and suggested the item be withdrawn from the Featherston Community Board’s agenda.

“I think Greytown has this in hand. Let Greytown Community Board make the decision,” he said.

“There’s no need of a road name change in Featherston.”

South Wairarapa District Council group manager of planning and environment Russell O’Leary said this may present problems.

If Greytown Community Board went out to consult and found their residents didn’t want a change, the towns would be left with the original problem of duplicate numbering, he said.

But South Wairarapa councillor and Featherston Community Board member Garrick Emms maintained there was no problem.

All members of the Featherston Community Board agreed there was no longer a compelling reason to pursue an investigation of a road name change for Underhill Rd at this time.

South Wairarapa District Council has since delegated powers to the Greytown Community Board to pursue consultation with residents on a name change in Greytown.

It may be a simple change such as Underhill Rd North. — NZLDR

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