The Sydenham Master Plan contains a strategic vision whereby Sydenham will retain and strengthen its unique identity as a place of industry, action and innovation.

An artist's impression of Colombo Street's public places

Local people are very proud of Sydenham’s rich social history and it's strong sense of community.

They are now rebuilding their community following the earthquakes; having experienced the loss of much of its built heritage and disruption to its commercial centre, the Sydenham Master Plan is helping guide this recovery. 

The process to identify stakeholders, key issues, community aspirations and develop the Sydenham Master Plan began in April 2011. After technical expert workshops and community consultation, the master plan was endorsed by the Community Board before being adopted by the Council in June 2012.

Vision, goals and actions

The Sydenham Master Plan contains a strategic vision whereby Sydenham will retain and strengthen its unique identity as a place of industry, action and innovation.

The vision is supported by eight goals, which are to be delivered through twenty-six detailed implementation actions. These encourage Council, private sector, community and government-led decision-making to align and move forward together in a logical sequence.

The vision, goals and actions are mapped in the Executive Summary and described in detail in section 4 of the Sydenham Master Plan [PDF, 2.9 MB].

Progress on implementation of actions

In the years following the adoption of the Sydenham Master Plan, actions have been implemented where possible. The context for these continues to change and this has influenced decisions by the Council, other organisations and private individuals.

Progress on implementation of Sydenham Master Plan actions can be viewed below, under the themes with which each action aligns.

Current projects

Built environment (B)

  • (B1) Targeted residential activities around Buchan Park: This action acknowledges that growing mixed-use and medium-density housing in Sydenham will be a key driver to the area’s future vibrancy. The Council is processing Christchurch District Plan Change 14, which enables mixed-use and medium density housing around Buchan Park and the wider Sydenham area.

Community wellbeing, culture and heritage (C)

  • (C3) Support the Sydenham Heritage Trust: The Sydenham Heritage Trust has obtained a Project Information Memorandum (PIM) for a new building containing a proposed museum, café and tenantable space at 243 Brougham Street.

Movement (M)

  • (M3) Pedestrian improvements: Proposed aspects of Waka Kotahi’s Brougham St upgrade project (delivery dependent on full funding of the Brougham Street upgrade by the government) will likely result in fewer vehicles using Colombo St as a thoroughfare, which will enhance the pedestrian environment and safety.
  • (M4) Cycle infrastructure: Waka Kotahi’s Brougham St upgrade project will also improve east-west cycle connectivity.

Natural environment (N)

  • (N5) Temporary landscapes: The Council has included a proposal to extend the use of City Vacant Differential Rating to four suburban centres including Sydenham in its Draft LTP 2024-2034, reflecting the extent of vacant land there. Well-maintained sites in planning-compliant temporary uses are exempt and remissions are available where property owners improve the visual amenity of their sites in line with the Council’s Vacant Site Improvement Guide.

Completed actions

Built environment (B)

  • (B1) Targeted residential activities around Buchan Park: The private landowners have built a number of new residential units above the adjoining shops in the Commercial Core-zoned area fronting Colombo Street since 2012.
  • (B3) Develop supportive City Plan amendments: The Council made supportive amendments in the Christchurch District Plan operative in 2017.

Community wellbeing, culture and heritage (C)

  • (C1) A Sydenham learning outpost: The Council assisted the Adult Reading Assistance Scheme (ARAS) find suitable premises in Sydenham in 2013.
  • (C2) Support the return of Sydenham-based postal services: Sydenham Quarter Inc. (the local business and community association) presented a petition to NZ Post to promote the return of the full postal and banking services to the centre in 2013. Currently, a small postal service is provided by the pharmacy at The Colombo.

Economy and business (E)

  • (E1) Love Sydenham marketing & attraction campaign: Sydenham Quarter Inc. created a brand and website for Sydenham, with funding from Recover Canterbury and a local company Studio Publica, in 2012. The Council has provided funding for street banners, a large promotional billboard on the site at 350 Colombo Street and smaller promotional billboards towards the northern end of the Sydenham Master Plan area since 2012.
  • (E4) Former Sydenham School site redevelopment framework: The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Fletcher Living delivered a mixed-use development with an element of affordable housing in 2019.

Movement (M)

  • (M2) Parking investigations in the commercial area: The Council completed a Suburban Parking Policy to address suburban parking issues in 2019.

Natural environment (N)

  • (N1) Colombo St public spaces: The Council purchased land at 441 Colombo Street in 2014 to provide a public open space, for which it provided a temporary landscape treatment, including benches, planters, synthetic turf and an art sculpture, in 2014. The Council has also upgraded other public areas, such as the small seating area on the southeast corner of Colombo and Byron streets, since 2012. Additions include solar lighting, refurbished seats and new planting.
  • (N3) Buchan Park remodel: The Council installed a new, modern playground in 2022.
  • (N4) Relinquish and replace Carlyle Park: The Council relinquished Carlyle Park in 2021. The site at 441 Colombo St, on the southwest corner of Colombo and Battersea Streets, was purchased as a replacement pocket park and has been improved with temporary assets and artwork.
  • (N5) Temporary landscapes: The Council, Beca and the local community delivered a public open space on the vacant site at 406 Colombo Street in 2013. Many other sites have been activated by Greening the Rubble, Gap Filler, artists and other organisations since 2012. These included a reoccurring event called First Thursdays, to bring several successful arts events to Sydenham, from 2014 to 2017.
  • (N6) Gateway treatment Colombo St: The Council installed gateway artwork on Colombo Street, to enhance the northern entrance to the Sydenham area, in 2016.

Ongoing actions

Built environment (B)

  • (B2) Building setbacks on Colombo St: Where appropriate, the Council raises this desired outcome with landowners when discussing redevelopment options for their sites. At least one landowner has set back their building at ground floor level as part of its rebuild since 2012.
  • (B4) Design and character guidance: The Council and the Urban Design Panel have provided design advice to landowners wishing to redevelop since 2012, influencing built-form outcomes at 350 Colombo Street and the revamp of the Sydenham Dairy, for example.

Community wellbeing, culture and heritage (C)

  • (C1) A Sydenham learning outpost: See ‘Completed actions’ above. Sydenham is currently well-served by the Tūranga, South and Spreydon Libraries, with the Mobile Library able to support particular events. Measures will be taken to ensure this remains the case during the rebuild of the South Library.
  • (C5) Local landscape & heritage interpretation: The Council and the community have included heritage references in various projects since 2012. Examples include the incorporation of historic images and Sydenham Borough’s founding date into the gateway art installation and the incorporation of heritage items from the former Sydenham School site, such as the entrance gates and plaques, into the remodel of Buchan Park. The Sydenham Heritage Trust is looking to include items salvaged from the rubble of the Sydenham Heritage Church for use in a new building on site.

Economy and business (E)

  • (E2) Appoint a Sydenham case manager: The Council has and continues to provide assistance as required since 2012.
  • (E6) Funding options and non-financial support: The Council has and continues to provide assistance as required since 2012. Council funding sources include the Place Partnership Fund, the Enliven Places Rates Incentive for activating vacant sites and Shape your Place Toolkit-related funding through the Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board’s Discretionary Response Fund.

Natural Environment (N)

  • (N5) Temporary landscapes: The Council has provided both funding and support since 2012. See ‘Completed actions’ above.

Commenced actions

The following Sydenham Master Plan actions have commenced and/or been completed in part to the extent noted:

Community wellbeing, culture and heritage (C)

  • (C3) Support the Sydenham Heritage Trust: The Sydenham Heritage Church provided information on the heritage of the area on the site of the demolished church. The former Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board worked with the Trust to provide storage for the salvaged materials. The Sydenham Heritage Trust is working towards a new building. See ‘Current projects’ above.

Movement (M)

  • (M1) Road corridors review including public transport, walking and cycling: The Council completed a draft road corridors review in 2016.  This will assist to inform the movement and public realm actions in the Sydenham Master Plan, and future funding allocation.

Natural environment (N)

  • (N4) Relinquish and replace Carlyle Park: See 'Completed actions' above. The Council has yet to fund permanent development of the replacement pocket park at 441 Colombo St.
  • (N6) Gateway treatment Colombo St: The Council has yet to fund the installation of a gateway feature to enhance the southern entrance to the Sydenham area.

Not yet commenced actions

Community wellbeing, culture and heritage (C)

  • (C4) Investigate suburban community transport opportunities: This action is with the community to implement and relates to the provision of courtesy coaches to assist the mobility impaired to access local goods and services.

Movement (M)

The Council has yet to fund these actions:

  • (M3) Pedestrian improvements.
  • (M4) Cycle infrastructure.
  • (M5) Colombo St public realm improvements.

Natural environment (N)

  • (N2) Street trees and lighting: The Council temporarily placed twelve tree planters along Colombo Street in 2013. Permanent tree planting determined by the corridor review will be completed when the public realm improvements are funded by the Council. See (M5) above.

Discontinued actions

Economy and business (E)

  • (E3) Pilot redevelopment project of a multiple ownership site: Discontinued in 2013, following the sourcing and provision of independent development advice by the Council to, and discussions with, various landowners of the block of properties located between Carlyle Street and Byron Street. Any further action is dependent upon landowner agreement.
  • (E5) Railway site property opportunities: Discontinued in 2015, due to Kiwirail entering into a long term lease, and the consenting by Environment Canterbury of a facility, for the compaction and transfer of commercial waste on this site.