Northwest plans include more homes, jobs

DELYWN DICKEY
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2013

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Big plans are afoot around Hobsonville and Westgate, transforming Auckland's northwest.

Three centres covering 450ha form a commercial and retail hub for the northwest, likely to bring 19,700 new jobs and 5,500 new homes. 

The hub's impact will be felt Auckland-wide, including in Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast.

The first stage of the $1-billion project is a new town centre at the westward-expanding Westgate shopping centre (by 2017), a new 3,000-home and marine precinct at Hobsonville Point (2021) and redevelopment of the Hobsonville village centre (2030).

Earthworks are well underway at Westgate on the Greenfields housing, commercial and industrial project, to help the city cope with an extra million people expected in the next 30 years. Much of the work can be seen from the new State Highway 16 motorway extension towards Kumeu and the new Upper Harbour motorway. 

The project means retail and jobs in an area that sees many people travelling long distances to work and shop. 

Developing the area has been on the table for the past decade, originally under the former Waitakere City Council. Now it is a joint development between Auckland Council and the New Zealand Retail Property Group. The council's investment is $323 million.

The north-west transformation project is a triumph of collaboration between the council and development partners, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said.

''It's a blueprint for what can be achieved as the region grows and develops under the direction of the Auckland Plan. The result will be a balanced and integrated urban community ensuring regional growth and social, recreational, environmental and transport benefits. It will definitely be the place to live, work, do business, play and shop.''

A new town centre with shops and restaurants is being built next to the existing Westgate shopping centre, which will stay.

The new extension will be larger than Sylvia Park in Mt Wellington and Albany's main shopping area. It will include large format shopping, a 3,500sqm library, a business park with three-to-four-level office buildings and possibly a home brand area. 

High density housing is likely around the town centre with a mix of styles elsewhere. 

Recreational facilities are planned, including trails around stormwater lakes. 

Road links include a two-kilometre main road through the Westgate development and access from Fred Taylor Dr (the old SH16) along Northside Dr, with a bridge across the Kumeu motorway extension to link the Upper Harbour motorway.

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The west struggles to keep people shopping locally, apart from groceries, and sees large numbers heading to Albany, Glenfield and the city centre for more retail variety. 

The project includes redeveloping the Hobsonville village centre and employment park along the Hobsonville corridor. That is centred on the $220m motorway, finished in July 2011, linking the west to Albany, Hibiscus Coast and North Shore. The full western ring route should be finished about 2020.

New retail shops are planned in the present Hobsonville village. This project includes a new supermarket, 205 new homes and a new industrial area providing 5,580 new jobs. Work is expected to start this year or next and be finished by 2030.

A 52ha business park will be developed between Brigham Creek Rd and Westpark Dr on Hobsonville Rd, with emphasis on quality buildings and open space. 

Hobsonville Rd will be upgraded.

A new 3,000-home residential and 20ha marine precinct at Hobsonville Point is due to be completed by 2021. This includes a new primary school opening February 4 and a secondary school in early 2014. That is part of more than 160ha being redeveloped by the Hobsonville Land Company and includes small areas of shops and offices, new parks, and ferry and bus connections. 

Keeping young and first-time home owners in mind, about 10 per cent of the homes are targeted to sell for less than $485,000 and another 10 per cent at less than $400,000 - tied to inflation - in the next decade. An efficient transport option for this area includes the new $2.85m Hobsonville ferry terminal and wharf, due to open early next month, as well as a new Beach Haven wharf, connecting the northern Waitemata with the Downtown Ferry Terminal. 

A new bus exchange is also planned for the Westgate development.

- Auckland Now

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