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SWDC proposes moving Featherston train station


The Featherston train station.

Residents are being asked if they want Featherston’s train station moved to the centre of town.

South Wairarapa District Council is thinking outside the box with “radical” plans to enhance Featherston as a growth area.

It has launched an informal consultation on two options, one of which involves moving the train station to the centre of town to support main street rejuvenation.

Available documents do not specify the cost of doing so or whether Kiwi Rail will foot the bill.

South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] intermediate planner Kendyll Harper said the Featherston Master Plan proposal had been formed with input from a number of community groups and focused on the next 30 years.

“We’ve heard about the need for more housing and affordable housing, and we’ve heard about the need to rejuvenate and revitalise the main street.”

The first option leaves the train station in its current location and seeks to increase density around the station and Featherston’s main street.

The second option would see the train station move to the centre of town to help support main street rejuvenation and create a range of densities.

“Moving the train station may seem radical, but as you’ll see from Mike Cullen’s economic report, it’s an idea to bring more foot traffic into town and to give a wider range of medium density housing,” Harper said.

“However, it does involve expense. There are pros and cons for both ideas.”

It was not known how much the project would cost or who would write the cheque.

The Featherston Master Plan discussion document was created by Ree Anderson Consulting Ltd and Richard Knott Ltd in collaboration with SWDC, iwi, central and regional government agencies, and the community.

At a recent council meeting, Anderson said no cost indications had been given by Kiwi Rail, but costs could involve “aspects such as land purchase”.

Mayor Alex Beijen commended the team for the plan.

“I commend you on looking at options that, to be honest, wouldn’t have occurred to me.

“To look at a really long-term enhancement of Featherston, I wouldn’t have thought about moving the train station, but it’s great that we put these options up.”

The Featherston Master Plan also allows for smaller sections in parts of the town to free up subdivisions.

Currently, the minimum lot size across Featherston is 500 square metres. In the proposed “medium density zone” – around the train station and main street – this would drop to 200m2, allowing for the likes of townhouses and apartments.

The wider “general residential” zone would have a minimum size of 300m2.

This will be of help to many property owners who currently have 800-900m2 lots but who cannot subdivide at present.

Harper said the projected population growth of Featherston over the next 30 years was more than 1700 people, meaning that more than 900 houses would be needed.

“Featherston is considered a key location in the Wellington region for growth because of the accessibility of the train station and proximity to Wellington.

“The plan and this consultation period is not just about allowing for housing and accompanying infrastructure.

“It is also about asking residents about the aspects of the town that they value, so we can protect and build in those things.

“In our discussions so far, a message that has come through clearly is that Featherston residents value the community spirit of the town, and we want this plan to reflect this.”

Feedback on the closes on August 19, and then council planners would create the draft masterplan. Hearings and formal consultation will follow.

The plan is expected to be finalised and implemented next year.

Visit the South Wairarapa Council website, library, or offices for more information on the survey and to provide feedback.

This is the first of a multi-part series on Featherston’s Master Plan.


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