Carter’s Flat to be developed 

Carter’s Flat today. 

The image of Cambridge’s iconic Carter’s Flat is of an area where industrial and commercial activity is to the fore.

But in a proposed change to the Waipā District Plan, the 20ha of land looks set to become home to commercial, large format retail activities and medium density residential above the ground floor.

The council’s Strategic Planning and Policy committee received a report from District Plan and Growth manager Tony Quickfall on Tuesday and approved for it to go out to consultation.

The change would lift the area’s current Deferred Commercial Zone to Commercial Zone: Carters Flat. When it is advertised later this month, a Carters Flat Local Area Plan will accompany the notification.

That plan outlines how it would become a well-functioning urban area which adds to the vibrancy and amenity of Cambridge while providing an environment where businesses could grow.

Carter’s Flat is on a lower terrace of land between Lake Te Koo Utu and Karāpiro Stream to the east of Cambridge’s central business district (CBD).

It has a range of industrial and commercial activities located within it.

The change to the plan will remove the current commercial/light industrial zone and make it a mixed use area suitable for larger scale commercial activities that would not compete with the Cambridge CBD.

A rural scene with Carter’s Stables and horse and buggy, on the Cambridge-Rotorua Road (now Carter’s Flat). Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library. 

It would include retail and office space supported by apartment living.

“A plan change would create more certainty to the plan user and landowners of the direction and anticipated outcomes of this area. It would create a clear link to, and be consistent with, the Cambridge Town Concept Plan 2010 and the Town Concept Plan Refresh 2019,” Quickfall told the committee.

Cambridge already has industrial zones in Hautapu and Matos Segedin Drive which can accommodate heavy industrial growth.

The plan change would also see connections to Lakewood and Cambridge CBD improved and include space and consideration for bus stops and a connection between upper and lower Alpha Street.
Cambridge Chamber of Commerce has been in favour of the plan change while noting existing businesses in Carter’s Flat, particularly those which generate noise or odours, may be concerned about the introduction of residential tenancies in the area.

It could generate complaints despite those businesses having existing use rights.

The area is named after American William Kennedy ‘King’ Carter, a tall, athletic man who ran a coach service in Cambridge from the 1870s to Auckland, Rotorua and Taupo, offering passenger and mail services, and using carrier pigeons to relay messages between stops.

He had a horse bazaar in Lake Street, and stables in the area named after him – Carter’s Flat, 25 passenger coaches as well as buggies and wagons for hire, and well over 100 horses. Carter died in 1918, aged 95.

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