Draft Ponsonby Road masterplan update

Ponsonby Road masterplan Pollen StreetThis update was published in the February Ponsonby News

Last year the draft Ponsonby Road Master plan generated a huge amount of interest, lots of creative suggestions for the future development of Auckland’s iconic street and a number of queries about how the plan was coming together. Here is an update on the draft, the process so far and next steps.

The idea for a master plan came out of work started by the Western Bays Community Group building on previous studies, plans and initiatives such as the 40km speed limit.  A working group made up of Waitematā Local Board members, the Ponsonby Business Association, community organisations, stakeholders, and Mana Whenua representatives informed the draft Master plan through a series of workshops. Auckland Council also commissioned a report on Māori heritage values and opportunities to better engage with relevant Iwi for the project area. The working group was assisted by Auckland Council planners, urban designers, heritage advisers, landscape and retail specialists, as well as transportation experts from Auckland Transport.

The working group approach was unique in bringing stakeholders around the table early on in the process and developing a draft from the grassroots up. It was big contribution from a group who volunteered their time.   It meant we learnt a lot along the way, challenged “normal” Council processes but ended up with final draft for consultation reflecting a wide range of views.

The vision put forward in the draft is to develop Ponsonby Road as a vibrant, well connected place for people whilst protecting, enhancing and celebrating its unique heritage, reinforcing its role as a key entertainment and boutique shopping destination and improving the natural environment. The draft identifies specific outcomes to achieve this vision over the next 30 year and is framed around four themes – transport and movement, arts , culture and heritage, the natural environment and open space and land use.

The draft plan includes concepts for shared spaces, pedestrian improvements, cycle lanes, bus stops,  native planting, street furniture designs, art works and the opportunities at 254 Ponsonby Road (the Nosh site currently owned by Auckland Council) to provide for a new open space.

Consultation on the draft took place over an extended period involving pop in sessions, a public meeting and draft concepts on display at the Ponsonby Community Centre.  Almost 300 submissions were received on the draft which is an impressive number for this type of consultation. What was also impressive was the quality of the submissions and the comprehensive, thoughtful responses.

Overall strong themes emerged from the feedback that will inform how the master plan is finalised and what projects should be a prioritised for implementation. A full report of the feedback will be on the Board’s March agenda.   It is likely that  a final of the plan will be ready to be signed off by the Board mid-year.  Updated concepts for the development of 254 Ponsonby Road will be consulted on separately.

The draft plan is available on the Auckland Council website.