27 Feb 2022

Objections to housing plan for former Palmerston North bowling green

9:49 am on 27 February 2022

Public opinion is against efforts to turn an overgrown former Palmerston North bowling green into housing.

The Huia Street Reserve

The Huia Street Reserve, on the corner of Park Road and Fitzherbert Avenue, Palmerston North. Photo: Supplied/ Google Images

The Environment Select Committee is considering a bill that would change the status of a 1.5ha section of overgrown city land, which has stood empty for 15 years and is earmarked as a reserve.

The Palmerston North City Council wants the site, known as the Huia Street Reserve, developed for housing to help ease the city's shortage, but this requires an act of parliament.

The Palmerston North Reserves Empowering Amendment Bill passed its first reading before Christmas, but of the 22 submissions to the select committee, only five supported the proposed change.

The old bowling club land is on the corner of prominent city entrance Fitzherbert Avenue and the busy Park Road.

Palmerston North has a housing shortage and prices, as well as rents, are rising.

But the vast majority of submissions made to the select committee were against the proposed legislation.

This angered Simon Loveday, who said a vocal minority was halting change.

"I am frustrated that a small minority of residents wish to obstruct efforts to repurpose this land," he wrote.

Daniel Carrick said other councils were creating green space, not taking it away, while Alexander Davies wrote: "We must not continue this kind of theft from the next generations."

Christopher Sibley said he had seen plenty of Palmerston North green space taken over.

"Yes there is a need for housing, but at what cost? Rows and rows of multi-storey apartments and kids playing in the street."

Jenny Loveday said letting the land sit vacant was a waste, while Karen Adams said it should be sold to a developer for medium- to high-density housing.

Park Road resident Judith Gattsche wrote a succinct submission: "I live on Park Road. It's hard enough in the morning and the afternoon to get in and out. More houses would be just stupid. Leave it as it is."

A select committee hearing is scheduled for next month before the bill's second reading.

A previous attempt at a law change 15 years ago was abandoned by the city council.

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