Plimmerton Farm – Glimmer of Hope or Grimmer and Nope?
A new suburb! Hawoo! Surely that will ease the housing woes and we’ll have enough for everyone, there’ll be no concerns about extra cars on the road, everything will be beautiful, lovely, wonderful, hunky-flippin’-dory. Or not.
Here are the facts of the matter: Upper Hutt developers Malcolm Gillies and Kevin Melville have bought Plimmerton Farm, 368 hectares of land beside State Highway 1 north of Porirua, and plan to build 1500+ sections and 60 lifestyle blocks. See Stuff’s full article here.
So, what will this “terrific suburb” mean for Porirua, Transmission Gully and the surrounding areas? Will there be basic, affordable homes for those just starting out? Will there be tiny homes for those who want to live the simple life; it is farmland after all? Will they go green and have composting toilets, solar panels, rainwater collection, roof gardens and more? Will the suburb have a beating heart? I have so many questions and very few answers. They might do an incredible job, be developers with soul who are future thinkers. They also might just be in it for the money, because isn’t that why they go into the business in the first place?
But, and this is a big but, over 1500 sections + 60 lifestyle blocks = a whole heap of people and, more likely than not, a whole heap of cars – unless the suburb is designed very differently from what we’ve seen to date in Porirua. Plimmerton has its very own rather nice railway station – but once we’re in our cars we tend to go “Oh well, I’m on the way, might as well go all the way”. Exhibit A: traffic out of Aotea suburb, a hop and a jump from Porirua Railway station – because every house has a double internal garage and the whole place encourages driving. So what other transport links will there be for Plimmerton Farm’s new suburbanites? Transmission Gully, coming our way in 2020, will supposedly save time (oodles of it, 10 whole minutes for Kāpiti to/from Wellington) but then, if you’re adding another huge area of people and make it so they’re all encouraged to drive, what will that do to travel times? And what of schooling for the children of families destined to move in? Will Porirua and Plimmerton itself be inundated with dropoff traffic at school times and will we see more “gate rage”? Will Plimmerton Farm be built so kids can walk or scoot to the local schools? How will Porirua council manage with the influx?
I have an enormous question that probably can’t be answered and should be saved for another piece. Why is this conservative, neoliberal, capitalist society so obsessed with more more more? Greater populations, more money, bigger, stronger, faster does not necessarily equate to better.
Let’s get back to the matter in hand. Plimmerton Farm. Do you think it’s a marvel or a marvellous waste of opportunity? What would you say to the developers if you had the chance? Have at it, folk!
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