New village hub

Helping to translate a community’s wishes into a tangible, though flexible, plan.

When the Tamahere rural residential community, southeast of Hamilton, called for better commercial services and recreational facilities, plans for a future village centre began to unfold.

Concurrently, the Waikato District Council was considering the implications for Tamahere of sub-regional population growth and proposed extensions to the Waikato Expressway.

In the ensuing consultation, a preferred village development option was agreed and the council engaged our landscape architects to produce the proposed ‘Business Zone’ concept plan and design guide, together with a master plan for the adjoining active recreation reserve.

“Our role was to help translate the community’s wishes into a tangible, though flexible, plan which, together with the guidelines, would help people visualise and be assured about the form and character of the future development,” says landscape architect, Morné Hugo.

Design guide

An important cue for the design guide came from two local buildings – the community centre and the former Tamahere Model Country School, which dates back to 1884. The guidelines on form, scale, siting and detailing of future buildings and landscape design elements, were aimed at enhancing the existing heritage character. Also included, were principles of sustainable design, such as orienting and designing buildings to facilitate sunlight benefits and weather protection. Tamahere has no reticulated services, so low impact onsite stormwater management options were stipulated as an essential component in any future development.

The concept plan “Integrating the commercial and recreational land around a cohesive village hub was central to our brief,” Morne says. “We addressed this by defining a village square, partially enclosed by commercial buildings, that will open onto a village green.

The green, in turn, will open out to the sports fields beyond.These visually and physically linked public spaces form a strong connecting axis for numerous activities.”

The concept plan and design guide, as part of Plan Change 3: Tamahere Structure Plan to the Waikato District Plan, has been notified and is now open for public submissions.

For further information please contact Morné Hugo

1 November 2012