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City's east end all decked out for a vibrant future

Lifestyle Our Work Local News

A new people-friendly area for a coffee, a meal or just chilling out is rising in the east end of New Plymouth’s main street.

Work is nearly complete on a trial of two decks that allow people get together and eat outside the row of popular shops and eateries from the old State Hotel to the Kings Society barbershop in the east end of Devon Street.

The fenced decks will have bar leaners and seats, tables, plants, play equipment, decking and astro-turf to create a welcoming public area on the street for the whole family.

NPDC is working with city centre stakeholders, including building and business owners, retailers, developers, iwi and hapū, the Chamber of Commerce, the Business and Retail Association and the public, on a City Centre Strategy for the next 30 years.

The idea for the project came from a group of motivated local business owners, says NPDC Integrated Transport Officer Nathaniel Benefield.

“We all have a stake in keeping our city centre vibrant and successful. This area is now well on the way to becoming an attractive family-friendly destination that will encourage more people to visit and keep the tills ringing. We expect this upgrade will help drive a greater sense of neighbourhood and street pride,” says Mr Benefield.

Initial results of a survey last month showed three quarters of passers-by agreed with the need for a more people-friendly street by providing seats and places to meet and socialise, while almost half (47%) supported replacing the nine car parks with public space, a further 28% disagreed and 25% were unsure.

Mike’s Brewery Bistro Director Ron Trigg says it’s great to see something interesting at this end of Devon Street and he’s keen to see how people interact with the space.

“There is just nowhere to sit and meet friends or eat lunch here, so the open space is a really great idea.”

Three Pillars Café Manager Gemma Schmeling says, “I love the natural plantings and beauty of the design. Our customers are really excited about the new decks and mums can relax while their children are playing and exploring.”

The decks are being created in partnership with local businesses and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, who have funded 90% of the $250,000 project as an 18-month trial.

Work on both decks is expected to be finished by Waitangi Weekend.