Featherston people will be relieved to see work is under way on "the shingle pit", with construction of the long-awaited town square now in progress.

The Featherston town square development was initially due to be completed in February but was delayed to avoid a clash with state highway roadworks.

It is due to be finished in May and is estimated to cost more than $650,000.

South Wairarapa District Council chief executive Paul Crimp said the project was "on track and running to plan".


Over the past few weeks the site has been cleared, a boundary fence by the Menz Shed has been put up, and a concrete path between the shed and the miniature railway garage was completed.

The centre's amphitheatre stone wall foundation has been set out and construction of the wall has begun, as has the building of a stone wall alongside the miniature railway.

Fabrication of the pergola set to stand in the middle of the amphitheatre is under way off-site. The amphitheatre will have a sloping grass lawn and a sunken courtyard.

The plans, by Earthwork Landscape Architects, also include an artists' quarter, powered sites for mobile food outlets, a boardwalk and a retail space. A sculpture to be made by Paul Dibble, which will mark the national significance of Featherston Military Training Camp, will be located in the new town square precinct.

The town square development follows the council's 2014 consultation with residents as to how it could develop the area between Fitzherbert and Fox streets.

The empty site, where Chung's Supermarket was demolished in 2010, had been dubbed "the shingle pit" by some of the town's residents.

Trust House abandoned plans to build a large retail outlet on the site, negotiating instead to give the land to the council in exchange for land they leased further down the street.
This allowed them to create the Featherston Gateway complex.