New fund aims to improve the appearance of Levin’s main street

Published on 11 April 2019

Levin Town Centre.

Horowhenua District Council is to establish a new fund to improve the appearance of Levin’s town centre and enhance people’s experience of being there.

The CBD Amenity Improvement Fund will contribute to achieving the objectives of the CBD Signage and Building Design Policy, which was adopted at yesterday’s Council meeting.

Strategic Planner Lauren Baddock said the policy aims to reduce visual clutter caused by excessive and unnecessary signage, to improve the design and style of signage, and to improve the visual appeal and amenity of verandahs and shop fronts in Levin’s CBD.

“Oxford Street in particular is Levin’s primary existing urban asset, and many business owners and members of the public are concerned that it has become tired and run-down. Making it a more attractive place to spend time is a focus of Council’s Transforming Taitoko/Levin Town Centre Strategy,” she said.

“The new policy is a guide for business and building owners towards design outcomes that will improve the pedestrian experience and enhance the connection between the footpath and shops. While compliance isn’t compulsory, the fund is there to assist owners who want to upgrade their buildings and signage in accordance with the policy.”

Levin Ward Councillor Bernie Wanden said feedback from local businesses had been positive.

“The approach we’re taking will see Council and the local business community working together to improve the appearance of Levin’s main street for the benefit of businesses and the community alike,” he said.

The fund will initially be a two-year trial, with up to $50,000 per year being available. Successful applicants will be eligible for up to 75 per cent of the cost of signage, to a maximum of $1,000 per application; or up to 50 per cent of costs for shop frontage improvements, to a maximum of $5,000 per application.

All building and business owners within the Levin Town Centre who propose cosmetic changes such as new paint or signage in accordance with the policy are eligible. However, if structural changes to the building or verandah are proposed the building must have been assessed as at least 34 per cent of NBS (National Building Specification). If a large number of applications are received, preference will be given to buildings and business located on Oxford Street between Bath Street and Stanley Street.

The fund will be open for applications before the middle of the year, with information about how to apply to be provided on Council’s website before applications open.