Since 2016, Woods has been working with Grafton Downs Ltd on the Paerata Rise Development. In the early stages, Woods was involved at an engineering and surveying level. After the Plan Variation was granted for a ‘new town’ for land surrounding the existing Wesley College in 2016, Woods’ role expanded to include planning and urban design services.
The Master Plan for Paerata Rise sets out the vision for the next 15 years of development of this ‘new town’ which will provide for the development of around 4500 homes.
The importance of a Master Plan
A critical first step for any development project is the Master Plan. It sets out the staging of the development, primary structures, roading, and the natural environment. It would be chaos without conditions in terms of infrastructure. The plan also shows the location of various types of uses, densities, yields, and lot sizes.
Creating the Master Plan for Paerata Rise
A number of considerations must be carefully managed when creating a Master Plan for a development like this. The Woods Urban Design team considered the following factors:
- Paerata Rise is located 5 minutes away from a large service town, Pukekohe, and also 40 minutes away from a major city centre, Auckland.
- The existing contour of the land is cut up with ecological streams through the area.
- The existing rail line and future train station will become a crucial transport link for the community.
- State Highway 22 and Glenbrook Road – A section of the highway required to link the development into the existing road structure is used by 10,000 cars each day.
- Retention of schools – The existing college is planned to be moved to a new location. A new primary and secondary school are also planned to be added in the future.
The urban design team worked closely with the engineers to shape the land and protect the ecological streams. This included the use of retaining walls to manage the contour of the land. It was a balancing act as to how much to cut or grade the land as there would be effects through to the roads.
The stream reserves were incorporated into a network of neighbourhood parks, recreational parks, cycleways, and pathway networks. An express cycle network through to the train station will be built in the future. A linked street network will connect the development into the roading network through stream and collector roads.
Given the close proximity to Pukekohe, consultants considered the viability for retail stores and the required supermarket size. Ultimately, the Paerata Rise town centre will act as a sub-town centre with small scale retail stores.
Additional Design Guidelines to Control the Urban Environment
Woods was asked to review the house designs of each builder as the building partners must follow design guidelines set out by Paerata Rise, as well as the planning controls set out by Council in the Precinct rules under the Unitary Plan. These guidelines allow the developer to control what is built to achieve cohesion, rather than having ‘anything goes’.
The Paerata Rise design guidelines include no fencing to the front yards, and the sections must be fully landscaped. This open aspect of the sections gives Paerata Rise a point of difference and protects the natural beauty of the town’s landscape.
Creating a safe and desirable place to live, work, and relax.
The Paerata Rise development project has been an exciting and rewarding project to be involved in. Grafton Downs Ltd is not a traditional developer, so it has been a journey of discovery for them. With the not-for-profit school still operating on-site, they are heavily invested in the future of the community and creating a safe and desirable place to live and work for future generations.
The Woods’ Urban Design team is proud to have created a Master Plan that followed what was intended by the structure plan.
Paul Edmond - Principal Urban Design & Architecture Manager