​Community housing project at former Wesleyhaven Village

Dec 13, 2018 | News

Wesley Community Action is delighted to announce that it has signed an agreement with Masterton prefabricated home provider EasyBuild to build 25 affordable rental homes at the former Wesleyhaven Village in Naenae.

The homes will be made available to applicants on the Government’s Housing Register for people who have been assessed as eligible for social housing and are waiting to be matched to a house.

Work on the $8.4 million project at what is now known as Wesley Rātā Village is expected to start early in 2019. It will take the number of affordable rental homes at the Village to 55.

The project is the first major step towards redeveloping Wesley Rātā Village, which was previously a resthome and hospital. It is an initiative of the Methodist Church and involves a partnership between three Methodist organisations. They are Wesley Community Action, which owns the land and is leading the redevelopment of the Village; Airedale Property Trust, a specialist housing agency which will be the project manager for the new build, and the Methodist Trust Association, which is the principal funder.

Wesley Community Action director David Hanna says the project is part of the organisation’s wider vision to use the 60-hectare site to strengthen community by providing quality rental homes for mostly older residents and creating places for the local community to gather and share across the generations.

“We want to grow a village where older people can live amongst a range of ages, maintaining their independence while supporting each other.”

He says Wesley Community Action has become increasingly concerned about the growing number of baby boomers entering older age with no permanent home and few assets.

“Through our many years of working with vulnerable older people we know that a growing number of them will spend their later years in sub-standard rental accommodation. This can put them at greater risk of loneliness and poor health. We want to help fill this gap by creating an intergenerational community with older people at its heart.”

The 25 homes will consist of eight 1-bedroom houses, 13 2-bedroom houses, and four 4-bedroom houses.

Wellington architect John Mills has developed a plan for the site to ensure each home gets privacy, sun and views, and to encourage interactions between residents. As well as the new homes the wider redevelopment will include communal space, outdoor areas and a “village green” for residents.

Mr Hanna says it’s likely that the four larger homes will be occupied by family groups. However, the focus in Wesley Rātā Village will continue to be older people, as it has been since the first residents moved into self-contained villas built by the Methodist Church in 1953.

“Wesleyhaven was very innovative when it was first built – it was one of the first retirement villages in New Zealand with a hospital, resthome and villas. We’re continuing that tradition of innovation with this development. Wesley Rātā Village will be a place to explore new ways of re-creating a diverse community that has caring embedded into it.”

Most of the 25 new homes will be built on the site of the former Deckston Building which was demolished earlier this year. However there are no plans to demolish the other two main buildings on the site, The Strand and the former Wesleyhaven Hospital.

These two buildings, along with several others on the site, are already being used for a range of community activities. These include an Ageing Well group, a Positive Seniors Club, regular community meals, an intergenerational play group, a nature playgroup and a project to make the native bush on the site site’s bush more accessible to the local community being carried out in partnership with Naenae Nature Trust.

“We will continue to work closely with the Naenae community to develop Wesley Rātā Village into a place that helps re-weave community and build a sense of connectedness and belonging for all age groups.”

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