Linwood Village - A place of opportunity
Linwood Village has had a bit of attention lately. I've been meaning to do this for a while so thought I would update whats going on and happening in the area. The village is a compact walkable commercial centre focused around the intersection of Worcester Street and Stanmore Road. The village centre is located on the eastern fringe of Christchurch’s Central City with direct connections to Cathedral Square (1.5 kilometres to the west) and the Avon River/Ōtākaro (600 metres to the north). There are good visual links to the Central City and the Port Hills, giving this area a sense of place within the city.
Prior to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, Linwood Village provided a community focal point and local meeting place, with people using the village centre throughout the day. In recent years the village centre had lost a bank and government services, but retained a small postal centre, a church, pubs, eateries, a variety of corner shops and small independent traders such as a butcher, baker, greengrocer, fishmonger and pharmacist. The Linwood Community Arts Centre and the Doris Lusk Park also featured as community facilities in Linwood Village.
Approximately 60 percent of commercial buildings in the centre were severely damaged in the earthquakes. Since the earthquakes the village has struggled to attract new investment and has been a location homeless people have congregated, partially due to the proximity to the City Mission and the lack of wrap around social support for mainly men. Linwood Village remains to be one of the few post earthquake locations that still have delict earthquake damaged buildings remain for various reasons. This coupled with land bankers has not helped the village to develop further. This has led recently to members of the community call for action in The Press article titled - 'Visible signs' of issues in Linwood Village, residents want to see redevelopment.
This article raised two issues, one of the development and one of the visiable signs of the homelessness which the article implies detracts from the attractiveness and potential investability of the area. Both of the issues need to be addressed seperately.
The homeless issue is being addressed currently by the community board and council and several other agencies as there needs to be a collective approach to dealing with the fundamental issues of homelessness and not just try and band aid the issue and push it elsware in the city.
To help with the recovery and development the Linwood Village master plan was adopted in 2012 which you can see below:
The master plan was prepared to support the centre’s timely rebuild and recovery. Proposed actions and project areas respond to different aspects of the centre.
The principle actions for CCC include:
• a streetscape enhancement (design phase underway),
• redesigning and redeveloping the public toilets (completed),
• and an upgraded landscape plan for Doris Lusk park (completed).
To download a full copy of the master plan click here:
Below are some of the transitional measures that have taken place either from the transitional work program or the master plan.
The street colour was done early on. This is outside the Post Office shop on Stanmore Road. This store is run by volunteers from the Te Whare Roimata community group. It provides a stable community presence and an awesome social enterprise.
Doris Lusk park, redeveloped but has issues with people drinking. An idea is to have an alcohol ban here while we address some of the other social elements to this problem.
Bus shelter with free USB solar charging - also there is fibre coming to the Linwood VIllage!
Unfortunately the master plan on its own has not delivered results like they have in other parts of the city. There is land thats being land banked and properties which cannot move forward due to being uninsured at the time of the earthquakes. This is why I believe there should be a regeneration plan for the area. This would give teeth to deliver the ultimate vision for the master plan work. The community is being consulted by the local community group Te Whare Roimata which was given $6000 by the community board to conduct market research which could feed into any regeneration or other plan.
Blow are the areas within the Linwood Village that are stalled with land being banked and buildings still earthquake dmaged sitting in disrepair.
A question to ask considering the issues with the park is could the park move, could the stuck lots be the new Linwood Village park and the current park something else? food for thought...
The Video Ezy was closed in about 2015 and has been empty since.
One thing that I wanted to address in this article was to look at what is happening in the Village which recently has seen a bit of activity in both the temporary pop up space and the longer term permanent builds.
Te Whare Roimata use some of the empty land as a pop up cafe, its well used currently by the workers doing road works and the Peebles development across the road.
Greening the rubble are doing a wonderful new mini park next to the Stanmore Supervalue. Bringing some tidiness and a bit of colour.
Community and commercial
Linwood Community Arts Centre restored by council in 2014. This building is home to the Linwood Community Arts Project run by Te Whare Roimata. The project enables the people from the eastern Inner City neighbourhoods of Richmond, Linwood, Inner City East and Phillipstown to gain access to, and participate in a broad range of affordable community art endeavours.
Peebles Group has purchased the block of buildings along Worcester Street and is repairing and redeveloping them and will have most of the former businesses returning to their spots. A family frienly Irish style bar is going into the spot where a trouble spot bar used to be which should set a new tone for the area.
Mixed use development on Worcester Street here is almost complete. 5 units behind, 3 units above and commercial below.
Williams corp 380/386 Worcester St - development in 3 - 4 months of commercial and residential mixed use.
Rev3 developing 26 affordable properties right on the fringe of the Linwood Village\
Williams Corp - 4 residential apartments, corner of Stanmore and Armagh
Four high end apartments just down the road on Stanmore.
As you can see there is a fair bit happening in the Linwood Village but there are some areas that need some extra work to get moving. A regeneration plan should help with this and bring many of the agencies and the private sector together to move forward.