Physical work on Hawera's first town centre redevelopment project started this week with the demolition of the old earthquake prone Campbell Building in High Street.

Local business Collingwood Civil has been awarded the contract for the demolition work, which will set the scene for a pedestrian thoroughfare and the new Campbell Lane to be built.

South Taranaki District Council project co-ordinator Phil Waite said the aim was "to better connect the Cornish's car park with the main street retail area and improve use of the free, unrestricted parking that is available."

The open-air thoroughfare will be a combination of paving and greenspace, with espaliered planting on the side wall, trees, seating, entrance pillars and a number of lighting columns that lead through to the car park.


Mr Waite said public response to the redevelopment has been very positive and already a number of private enterprise initiatives are being planned.

In 2014 a priority for the South Taranaki District Council was to update the town centre that was basically 100 years old and hampering the effect of the online retail trend.

Transforming the "heart of Hawera" into an attractive and vibrant place to live, work and visit was the vision of the South Taranaki District Council's Economic Development Strategy.

Council spokesman Gerard Langford said the vision was to create a new town centre that was welcoming and a wonderful place to be.
The design principles on which the Hawera town centre strategy is based included creating:
*a town centre core
*dedicated civic anchor building as the start of the development
*quality public green space
*emphasis on the town's heritage buildings.

Mr Langford said better access routes to the town centre, enhancing the pedestrian/cycle network and using lighting to provide safe connections at night, are also being considered.

"Hawera's current town centre was simply not meeting the needs of retailers or residents" Mr Langford said.

He said the project "will provide an opportunity to develop an urban centre we can be proud of for years to come."