Brougham revamp hailed

Skateboarders have started to chip away at seating

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2012
tdn lib stand
ANDY JACKSON
Puke Ariki Manager of Service & Delivery Dale Cousens stands in the newly developed area outside the Puke Ariki.

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New Plymouth's newest street redevelopment is being given a thumbs-up from the public and retailers in the area.

Lower Brougham St was opened last week after about four months of work to turn the area outside New Plymouth's library into a "shared space" for cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

While the work had caused some disruption, early indications suggested the majority were pleased with the end result.

The comments were a far cry from those expressed about New Plymouth's Huatoki Plaza, developed in 2009, which described the area as an "unfinished concrete mistake".

Puke Ariki service delivery manager Dale Cousens said it was a huge improvement. "It has been a massive project and a lot of people have experienced a lot of inconvenience but we think it's certainly been worth the wait."

The amount of concrete used had been the only criticism to date, however, there were still plants and street furniture to be placed.

Ms Cousens said the large amount of concrete was necessary in order for it to be a "shared space". "I think that's partly because it is designed to be a shared space, so you can still park and drive there as well as walk through."

During construction, Marinovich's Restaurant owner Jim Blair estimated the impact of the work would cost his business up to $50,000.

Mr Blair was out of the country yesterday, however duty manager Gemma Hagley confirmed the restaurant had lost a number of customers.

She said the fact they could now fit tables and chairs outside was a bonus, but the loss of car parks would make it difficult for takeaway customers.

Brougham Barbers & Gifts staff member Wendy Moody said the new area was a huge step up and she looked forward to more plants and greenery arriving.

"It is a shame the skateboarders have already started to chip away at the seating out there though," she said.

Let's Go project manager Carl Whittleston said they had identified the skateboarders as being a concern and were currently talking about what could be done to discourage that behaviour.

"Let's Go is funded by ratepayer money and central government money and we don't want to see that destroyed quickly by foolish activity like people on skateboards."

Mr Whittleston said the project had run smoothly and had been executed to its intended design.

"This is a place where people driving, riding or walking share the area equally and at slow speed, reducing risk and increasing the ability to react and be courteous.

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"It has a completely different atmosphere from elsewhere in the city and it's a great link from the central city to Puke Ariki landing and the Coastal Walkway."

A street party is happening this Saturday from 10am to 2pm with a market by the street's retailers, a live band and storyteller.

"We want people to come down and support the project and the businesses who have shown a fair amount of patience while we've been constructing this project," Mr Whittleston said.

What do you think of the new area? Comment below.

- Taranaki Daily News

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