An artist’s impression of Queen St upgrades, part of the Town Centre Revamp project. IMAGE/ SUPPLIED

Business owner: ‘We need to be brave’

Almost a third of car parks will be lost from Jackson St to Perry St in the Masterton Town Centre Revamp.

Masterton councillors approved the redevelopment of lower Queen St on Wednesday, with work likely to start around April next year, depending on contractor availability.

The redevelopment includes widening and upgrading pedestrian areas, creating public amenity space, including seating and upgraded lighting, and removing kerbs along the segment of the street to facilitate possible pedestrianisation in the future. There will also be new gardens and additional trees planted, with careful consideration given to maintenance requirements.

But there will also be 13 fewer parks in the area from Jackson St to Perry St, leaving 28 for shoppers in that block. Masterton businessowner Mark Rogers, of Bear Flag Books and Retro, said the area where parking spaces were being reduced was one of the busiest in Masterton.

“While I’m happy to see fewer cars on the road, this is a rural community ill-served by public transport so shoppers rely on their vehicles,” he said.

“If parking spaces are to be taken away will they be replaced elsewhere?

“Or is this just a massive win for the likes of The Warehouse with large free parking facilities?”

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said proceeding with a tender for construction was a significant milestone for the town centre revamp project.

“We began exploring a redevelopment of our town centre five years ago – it’s exciting to have construction for part of the redevelopment in sight,” she said.

“This planned redevelopment gives us a great starting point for the broader revamp of our town centre – the building blocks to add to over time.

“For example, while we have plans to redevelop the streetscape, we will be looking for opportunities to further enrich the public space with addition of public art and other points of interest that will help Masterton tell its story.

“We’ve been back to touch base with a number of businesses in this area of Queen St to understand how this planned timeframe would impact their business and were met with enthusiasm about the project proceeding.

“Construction of projects like this always comes with some disruption to business and we will be looking at ways we can mitigate this.”

The council has been working with urban design consultancy Boffa Miskell on the redevelopment of lower Queen St, Park St and Bruce St since early 2019.

The council is seeking external funding for redevelopment of Park St.

The next steps of the town centre revamp project will be part of the consultation on the Long Term Plan next year.

Sam Hepburn, owner-operator of House of Travel welcomed the news.

“I am very excited about the revival plans for the CBD – as a business owner I have been longing for a plan that brings some vibrancy to our town,” he said.

“We need a place where friends and families can connect, a place that lures people into town, a place that creates some much-needed energy. We need to be brave and bold.”

Manager of Ten O’Clock Cookie Bakery Cafe Monique Kloeg, said she was excited to see the change.

“We really support what is being planned. I think it will help create an environment with an ambience that will attract people to this area.”

  • Images of the planned redevelopment are available at www.mastertontown.nz