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West Flaxmere vision gets green light

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

An innovative vision designed to provide 120 high-quality affordable homes in Flaxmere has been agreed to by Hastings District Council and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.

Next steps will include the normal resource consent and planning processes.

Both organisations are excited about the proposal, which would provide real social advantage, a sound financial outcome and environmental bonuses.

Land owned by Council in Flaxmere West has been earmarked for development since the 1980s. It neighbours land owned by Te Taiwhenua which has plans to build quality conventional housing and a state-of-the-art co-housing village. Demand for affordable housing means the "timing is perfect both for Council and our families needing affordable homes", said Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.

"This will be life-changing for many of our residents," said Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga chairman Mike Paku. "The project will make a real difference to many people."

Under the plan, Council will sell its land to Te Taiwhenua which, subject to Resource Consent, will build a co-housing village and conventional homes, with "the latter subject to the same covenants as the neighbouring privately-developed sections, to ensure the quality of the new homes remains the same as those already built," said Mrs Hazlehurst. "The sale of Council’s land will be at commercial price, as assessed by independent valuation."

The development would consist of 44 conventional homes and 76 one to three bedroom homes in the co-housing village.

Helping people into home ownership is key to breaking cycles of low quality of living, through multiple supported path ways, said Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga chief executive officer George Reedy. "That would see a family put forward a deposit, topped up by a shared equity investment from Te Taiwhenua, which would enable it to spend up to $375,000 on a home.

"This gives families on one income or two lower incomes a very real opportunity to buy their own quality home. It may be a two or three bedroom in the co-housing village for between $205,000 and $260,000, or a three bedroom standalone house for $375,000," he said.

"We believe that a well-mixed community, with young families, the elderly and everyone in between, will develop into a very important sector of Flaxmere, and wider Hastings."

Mrs Hazlehurst said the development plans are impressive and unique. "The co-housing area is medium density. We are very impressed with the balance and mix of space in the co-housing area, allowing for community togetherness as well as private family space." 

Te Taiwhenua’s overarching vision is to ensure people have access to choice and opportunity, live in healthy and safe environments, feel a strong sense of identity, connection and community, are proud of and enriched by their culture, and are in control of their lives. Since its inception in 1987, Te Taiwhenua had helped tens of thousands of people in the community and grown into an employer of 300 staff. In 2017 its annual revenue reached $20 million, and the number of contracts it held reached 100. It runs a medical and dental facility, mental health and addiction services, social services, educational courses, and housing projects.

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