A town square with the potential to change the face of central Masterton by creating expanses of green space has been given approval in principle by the district council.
Builder and developer David Borman produced a plan drawn up by architect Daryl Silverwood to councillors yesterday that would transform a bitumen car park that sits between the council's building and Wairarapa Times-Age.
The concept, which grew from the germ of an idea Mr Borman had back in 1997 and again surfaced in 2000 when Masterton Licensing Trust put forward a proposal which didn't get off the ground, would feature grassed areas, trees, paving, walkways and a centrepiece which could be a water feature or a sculpture.
Mr Borman assured council the land would remain in community ownership and there would be no loss of car parks as the plan calls for those to be relocated to the back of the block.
He will be injecting money into the concept and raising the remainder from private sources.
"I am confident I can get the money, it has had great support so far," Mr Borman said.
It was too early yet, he said, to put a ballpark figure on how much the project would cost but costings should not be too long in coming.
Mr Borman said no ratepayers' money will be used and he stands to gain nothing financially from the development.
The only gain for Mr Borman would be creating a much nicer area in his hometown that would enhance the attractiveness of the Wairarapa Times-Age building which he owns and is a standout example of Art Deco.
Councillors were unanimous in their approval in principle of the concept and applauded Mr Borman for his initiative.
Deputy Mayor Jane Terpstra said she was "delighted" with the concept and councillor David Holmes said he thought the concept was "fantastic".
Mr Borman said he has been talking with potential funders and the concept has been readily endorsed. He hopes to complete the project by November or December.
Mr Borman said Lyn Eglinton is helping with the design and once plans are completed they will be forwarded to council for councillors' final approval.
"The town needs green space, this will change Chapel Street."
He said the project would have an added benefit of enhancing the existing Perry Street frontage of the town hall.
"It has a balcony but few people even know that," Mr Borman said.