Community to lead revitalisation of Christchurch's Linwood Village

A plan to regenerate the Linwood Village and inner city east will be led by the community.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF

A plan to regenerate the Linwood Village and inner city east will be led by the community.

The community surrounding the neglected and earthquake-damaged Linwood Village will lead the area's regeneration.

The Christchurch City Council this week approved a plan to allow Te Whare Roimata, a community development organisation, to drive the regeneration of Linwood Village and the city's inner east, alongside the council and the Government.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel hoped the model would became an "exemplar" others would follow.

Development in Christchurch's inner city east has been patchy since the earthquakes, community leaders say.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Development in Christchurch's inner city east has been patchy since the earthquakes, community leaders say.

Communities were not problems that needed to be solved, she said at Tuesday's council meeting. They were people who needed support to lead the process. 

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"I don't want to see communities stuck as mere applicants for funds. I want to see them work in partnership with full support of their council and central government in order to achieve their ambitions and goals."

Te Whare Roimata has worked in Linwood Village and the inner city east for 30 years and was concerned by the lack of regeneration in the area since the earthquakes. Linwood Village is centred around Stanmore Rd where it is intersected by Gloucester and Worcester Sts. The inner city east is bordered by Madras St in the west and Linwood Ave in the east. 

Te Whare Roimata community development worker Jenny Smith said the earthquakes had a huge impact on the area, with the loss of low-cost housing and shops gone and not replaced.

The area lost 300 single rented rooms after the earthquakes and rebuilt homes did not cater to lower-income earners. 

Smith said the area's issues had flown under the radar as other areas took priority.

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"This is a community well worth investing in and preserving."

A community survey conducted by the group earlier this year found residents believed crime, homelessness, poverty, unemployment and substance abuse had worsened since the earthquakes. 

The council developed a master plan for the area in 2012, but the area remained largely undeveloped. 

Smith said a market-led approach to the area's regeneration resulted in patchy, uneven development.

Te Whare Roimata would work with joint Christchurch City Council and Crown rebuild authority Regenerate Christchurch to work out a plan  for the area. 

Smith wanted to ensure there was access to affordable housing and shops that met the needs of the community. People were concerned about the lack of green space and homelessness.

Central ward councillor Deon Swiggs said when he first campaigned in the area last year he was struck by the deprivation. 

"This area felt like it had been forgotten."

He said the "for the community, by the community approach" was exciting. 

 - Stuff

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