A newly formed advocacy group of Flaxmere locals is concerned at the direction Hastings District Council is pointing their suburb, saying “it’s time we stood up for our beautiful place”.
The group ‘Flaxmere First’, led by long time Flaxmere resident Barry Pulford, is calling on the Hastings District Council to reconsider its plan to use the last remaining vacant land in the suburb for low-cost social housing, urging it to use it for what it was intended – high value, quality homes and a town centre to provide a social hub for the suburb.
Pulford says the group has had a groundswell of support and is growing in numbers, getting the attention of residents and politicians alike.
“A balanced community needs a variety of housing and the problem with the Council’s plan is that it perpetuates the negative stigma associated with Flaxmere instead of lifting it up and making it the aspirational suburb it was always designed to be. Flaxmere residents and ratepayers should absolutely have a say about how their suburb evolves. The majority is losing confidence in being heard by Council and their local councillors.
“The Council’s plans, which have not had public consultation and involve a large amount of low-cost housing in land designated for commercial use, is undermining any confidence we have in building Flaxmere as a ‘good investment’ and a wonderful place to live,” he says.
Flaxmere First is advocating that the Flaxmere Shopping Centre land be set aside for a fit-for-purpose commercial and retail area, and not have houses built on it, which will limit future options.
“The shopping centre redevelopment should not be put in the too-hard basket by two councillors (O’Keefe and Oli) who don’t even live in our suburb. It’s simply not ok. New
housing developments need to be completed before commercial land is used for them.”
Recent housing developments in Chatham Mews, Livingstone Crescent and Kirkwood Road of high quality, affordable housing are Flaxmere’s ‘shop window’, and the properties, along with homes in Prestige Place and Palgrave Avenue have gone a long way to restoring pride to the community.
Pulford says Flaxmere has “more than enough” social and low-cost housing as it is and the suburb simply doesn’t need any more.
“It’s time to put Flaxmere on the map for the right reasons. It’s a fantastic community and building quality homes will increase the suburb’s house values, provide people a way to step up the property ladder in their own community and free up lower-cost housing for people to move into.”