By Rex Warwood.

“Wesley will bring more local innovation and entrepreneurship.” – Andy Baker.

“This is a huge and exciting development for Franklin and it will create its own momentum,” says Franklin Local Board chairman, Andy Baker who was commenting on the new town, which will be established at Wesley College in Paerata.

Over the next 10-20 years, Wesley will grow into a sizable town of around 5,000 new homes.

Andy says that, like many parts of New Zealand, Franklin District has an increasingly older population and building a new town will contribute to redressing the balance while at the same time, the history and the 100 year heritage of Wesley College’s existence in the district will be retained.

“It’s a sign of positive enterprise,” says Andy.

“Building a brand new college, refurbishing the Chapel and re-purposing some of the existing buildings will give a sense of continuity.”

Franklin, he, says, is blessed with a bounty of green spaces – a rural environment that is unparalleled in the Auckland Region.

“It is our unique, quality, selling point.

“At the same time, we are one of the fastest growing areas and the new town of Wesley will bring even more local innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Wesley, he believes, will complement existing enterprise, rather than compete.

“It’s all about creating opportunities. We want people to not only live here, but to work here.

“This century offers huge opportunities for businesses to thrive in any place where there is innovation. Technology will help make it happen.

‘The local authority’s role is to make sure the zoning is right and to provide enough land for business and commercial development alongside new homes.”

Andy believes Wesley will be a major player in the wider community.

“The promise of a new primary school, better transport, increased infrastructure and plenty of parks, walk ways and green space are all essential requisites for the new town.”

The first sod was turned at Wesley last Saturday morning, heralding a new era for the college.

Read here for more about the ‘Future of Franklin’.