Attracting more residents and businesses to Sydenham will form part of a blueprint to rejuvenate the suburb’s business zone. According to The Press, Investigations have started, and the public will be involved in May and June. The proposal would include a “master plan” outlining several initiatives to ensure more people lived there and that the area was rejuvenated. The council needed to back the idea by guaranteeing funding in its longterm plan, the report said. It was hoped a draft plan would be ready by September, with the final document signed off by November.
It would be great to see Sydenham developed into the kind of vibrant inner-city suburb other cities seem to have and we lack with increased high and medium-density housing and the encouragement of the areas as a secondary business hub. It is certainly the primary candidate, with its historic buildings (that remain) and proximity to the CBD, and could well be the antithesis of characterless developments such as Tower Junction, which are more about making money and not a community.
In a way, Sydenham is kind of like a mini-CBD and should be a good litmus test for inner-city re-development, as the much smaller Sydenham can probably be redeveloped in a much tighter time-frame. In fact, in a way it is kind of like an extension of the CBD, the go-between of the leafy suburbs and the built up city centre. If we get Sydenham right, places like Addington and Riccarton could also benefit from subsequent attention to their High Streets.
Attracting more people and not more cars is the key here, and I certainly hope that is what this report will achieve. It is these sort of ideas and not increased car-parks and the removal of bus lanes, that will see massive regeneration in a suburb such as this, and ultimately that goes for the CBD too.