A Hastings District Council housing development in Tarbet Street, Flaxmere, is nearly complete with more than half the sections sold or under offer, and planning underway on more housing options within the suburb.

Over the last two years, Council has committed to making land available for much-needed housing, with the focus on facilitating the development of safe, quality houses that enhance the community and people’s wellbeing.

At Tarbet Street, 17 sections have been prepared for first-home buyers.

Council requires that buyers must live in the home they build for at least five years – which makes them unavailable to developers – and building must start within 12 months of buying a section. The homes must have at least three bedrooms, have an attached garage, have a colour-steel roof and aluminium joinery, and paths and driveways must be paved.

This will mean the Tarbet Street development will be of a similar style and standard to the new homes being built by Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga (TToH) across the road in Waingākau Village, and also mirror covenants put in place for areas such as Kirkwood Road in Flaxmere.

On former council land, Waingākau is a mix of co-housing and conventional housing – from one to four bedroom quality homes – with multiple pathways into home ownership being offered.

Council is also exploring options for other land it owns in Flaxmere, including in the town centre behind the shops.

This land was already zoned for residential and commercial development in the District Plan, and last year Flaxmere residents were invited to engage with council on their vision for the area.

More than half of those who gave feedback (about 120 people) favoured the option that included a mix of residential and commercial activity, including low, medium and high density housing, ranging from standalone houses to duplexes and apartment units.

More recently, concerns have been raised within the Flaxmere community that this housing would be all public housing.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said this was not the case.

“We understand the community’s concerns and want to reassure them that while housing is desperately needed throughout the district, Council is committed to no more than 20 per cent of any comprehensive housing development in Flaxmere being public housing.

“We also heard loud and clear that the community wants a new supermarket, café and more quality retail in the town centre.

“Looking to the future of Flaxmere, we have a real opportunity through council-owned land to make a real difference, and it’s fantastic that the community is so engaged and telling us what they want to see.”

The proceeds from the sale of council land in the suburb would go back into improving Flaxmere – whether it be adding to future developments, improving parks, facilities or infrastructure, she said.

A working party to consider the development of the town centre, and other land, has been formed comprising community members and council staff, and the intention is for this group to meet regularly.

Further public meetings will be held to ensure the community has their say in any future developments.

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