Perhaps timed to the opening of the new Hobsonville ferry, the Auckland Council has released a video showing a fly-through of current plans for the North West:

There are some aspects of the new Westgate development that I really like. In the town centre it is great to see that there are no setbacks from the road, that car parking is primarily at the back of the buildings yet pedestrian access is from the front, and the shared space town square is pretty neat. This should hopefully give the area a much more traditional town centre feel. On the downside it seems like a shame that some decent dedicated cycling infrastructure wasn’t put in place, and perhaps the biggest disappointment is that the ‘Large Format Retail’ and ‘Employment’ precincts will have more in common with other recent, more auto-dependant developments.

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  1. Bike racks at 1:05, maybe on road cycle lanes at 1:34 or just parking. No bus stops.
    Not much thought to density:
    No terrace houses around town centre, although there may be some at 2:29.
    No buildings higher than 2-5 storys in the town centre.
    Lots of surface carparks, see 1:51.

  2. Town centre is OK but the large format retail area and the employment area look like the same crap we’ve been building for the past 20 years. Giant carparks with a building somewhere hidden behind them.

    How hard would it have been to put the building at the front and the carpark behind?

  3. Yes it was all looking good until the 2.00 minute mark. Then all is so much better designed than Albany and had alot of promise. However once you can see the huge disconnect between the ‘town centre’ (I hate it when used to describe single use, single owner areas btw), the large format retail and the employment then it all falls apart. The employment area needs to be walkable from the town centre to give the palce a real feel. Also essential for inbound PT to work well.
    Also bizarely the lovely park will have concrete walls surrounding it, as none of the buildings front onto it.
    And then there is the ‘business park’, probably the same old drearyness as North Harbour, offices scattered through out warehousing, a disaster for PT.
    Need to keep the higher density employment areas in one centre.
    If this works out as follows the Waterview is going to be a huge waste of money as this highway will get clogged full of people driving to their car dependant jobs.

    1. I agree with this. The Town Centre looks great. The large format retail and building and trade zones look like the current slum that is west gate. And the plans indicate that the old Westgate will continue (boo!) creating a very widely distributed set of retail and business areas. The car will be king.

      If you download the largish map from the westage town web site, you see that the town centre is split by Tahi Road. The drawings indicate that this will have traffic calming measures (yay) but the major intersection of Tahi and westgate road is only one up from the motor-way, behind the current Event Cinimas building doesn’t bode well for keeping traffic out.

      I’m sure they could done so much more with this, especially considering the eye-watering expenditure.

  4. This is truly disappointment, this large retail format is basically an ugly extension of the type of development we have been building in the past. Truly disappointed and short-sighted.

    1. Love a fly-through, esp. one populated by ghosts…

      But yeah, almost total car-dependence built into that – that outer west ring from Tat Pen to Hobsonville should/could be an amazing set of human-scale communities, partly because you have lots of natural boundaries/islanding which encourage social cohesion and a sense of the ‘local’.

  5. I was always sceptical of the original plans and now, with the exception of the actual town centre, I see it was well founded. Considering the level of debate around housing in Auckland and the need for intensification, where the heck is the mixed housing, employment, town centre planning? It’s more of the same from the developers and the only piece that looks ok is being funded to a degree by council. Brilliant. Huge amounts of land with just one purpose. Jane Jacobs’ book “The death and life of great American Cities” is over 50 years old and well accepted to be a good account of how cities / towns work but the principles are still unable to be grasped by developers / councils. Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.

  6. I like the actual down centre of Westgate, but not the surrounding developments, its basically an extention of the exisiting Westgate development, more big box retail. Also the land use of this development is being wasted by building lots of carparks. The carparks could have easily been put underground or in a multi-level building instead of gobbling up unnessary amounts of land.

    This would allow more land to be used for building a residentual communty. I also think the road between old Westgate and New development could have been made more pedestrian friendly not designed for people to drive their cars from one place to the next.

    This development is just a repeat of other retail developments we have seen around Auckland, like the one in Albany. On the positive note the message is starting to get through, the new westgate town centre has been designed with pedestrians in mind, I think it takes NZ a bit longer than most countries around the world to learn form their mistakes.

  7. Having seen the actual detailed design plans, there is actually a good amount of cycle lanes and some shared paths included in the design, especially in the large format area. Not always 100% consistent, but cycling hasn’t been forgotten there. And at the risk of sounding like an apologist for our current car dominance – this is supposed to be a sub-regional centre, and is (currently, and for the next 10-20 years) not exactly surrounded by residential (closest resi is 1 km away to southeast, but most resi is further away). It is a bit unlikely to expect most such people to walk or cycle to go get their building supplies or their next bag of potting mix.

    1. Yes with a sub-regional centre limited potential for huge amounts of people to walk to the town centre from their homes as has large potential base.
      However they should at least be able to walk around the town centre, from the employment, between shops, and very importantly too and from the bus terminal.
      And regarding your last comment, if it is a sub-regional centre then I don’t think its only purpose will be for Mitre 10 Mega and Bunnings!
      Also note the website masterplan is a little different
      The Eastern area is shown as Building and Trade big boxes, rather than Employment.
      This page is a good overview too.

      My other worry is what is going to happen on the fringes of the master planned development. A few landowners and big retailers will come along that are not part of the masterplan and building on major intersections, totally wrecking the masterplan, which is very inward focussed the NZRPG development.

  8. Perhaps there are opportunities here for some of the penrose light industrial to move, so as to provide more inner city residential opportunities?

  9. I thought Mr Key killed any prospect of more intense housing options. he didn’t want some housing project in his electorate.

    1. there were originally going to be a few state houses scattered throughout Hobsonville, however that was cancelled. Development is being headed by Housing NZ after all!

  10. I’m also disappointed? This is going to be another Albany disaster? Carparks, carparks and carparks. I really have to question the town planners if this is what they are truly planning?? Look at Albany, you have to move your car ten times if you want to go shopping there. So I avoid the place. Can’t they create somewhere with character and style?? and public transport.

  11. I would have liked to see a swimming pool in the West gate area. We are surrounded with beaches and our children need a place where they can learn how to swim.

    1. Yes I too would like to see a swimming pool here to cater for the growing population and in the interests of health and recreation for the people

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