April 2015

In this issue:

Hamilton city Pokeno development Looking north from Oaklea Lane toward Southern Links connection Tuakau Southern Links

Report examines first four years of Future Proof Strategy

Hamilton city
Hamilton city

Urban development in the Waikato, Waipa and Hamilton areas is generally occurring within limits identified in a far-reaching planning strategy for the sub-region, according to a report.

The Future Proof Strategy, launched by Prime Minister John Key in 2009, identified where urban development should take place in the Hamilton, Waipa and Waikato districts.

A report presented to the Future Proof Implementation Committee last month has, for the first time, assessed whether development occurring in the sub-region is in alignment with the strategy’s expectations.

The report, prepared by Future Proof coordinator Michelle White and the Future Proof Technical Implementation Group, looks at the first four years of the 50 year strategy.

“It’s the first time since the strategy was launched that we have looked in a comprehensive way at how development is occurring in the sub-region, alongside the strategy’s expectations,” said Future Proof implementation advisor, Ken Tremaine.

“The results of this report will inform the work of the partners for their long term land use planning, infrastructure needs identification and funding. Its findings will also inform an update of the strategy which is about to get underway.”

“It’s important that development does align with the strategy so Future Proof partners, in particular the NZ Transport Agency, know where the growth is occurring so plans can be developed to meet infrastructure needs and money is prioritised for the work,” Mr Tremaine said.

The committee heard that the majority of residential development is occurring within the identified urban limits. However, there is still too much rural residential growth adjacent to urban areas, the report found.

Local councils now have increased minimum subdivision standards, but there is a lag between when new standards are adopted and their effect is seen on the ground through reduced subdivision activity.

“It’s important to understand if rural farmland is being eaten up for residential use beyond areas zoned for this purpose, it can turn into de facto urban development,” said Mr Tremaine.

“That puts a strain on roading, as well as pressure on councils to provide services, such as water and sewerage, to outlying areas.”

The committee – comprising leaders from Tangata Whenua, Waikato Regional Council, Waipa and Waikato district councils, and Hamilton – heard that lifestyle developments are being managed by local councils as they review district plans and adopt plan changes with new provisions which restrict rural subdivision.

However, it is too early to expect significant changes as a result of the Future Proof Strategy implementation. Changes to development patterns will take time to respond to new policy initiatives, the Committee heard.

 Return to top >>

Taking stock of changes in the sub-region

Pokeno development
Development at Pokeno

An update of the Future Proof Strategy due to get underway will take stock of changes in the sub-region since the far-reaching planning strategy was launched in 2009.

The strategy’s update was endorsed at last month’s Future Proof Implementation Committee meeting in Hamilton and is being led by Future Proof implementation advisor Ken Tremaine.

It is expected the updated strategy will be released for public feedback later this year.

“As part of the review we’ll be looking at what has changed in the sub-region since 2008 when the research for the current strategy was completed and how these changes could affect growth into the future,” said Mr Tremaine.

“In particular, it will incorporate Pokeno and Tuakau, which weren’t recognised in the original strategy since they only became part of the Waikato region in late 2010. These have since been included due to their growth and the impact of Auckland’s spread south.”

The strategy update will include a “tweaking” of the existing settlement pattern anchored in the strategy, Waikato Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement and Regional Land Transport Plan, and district plans. Mr Tremaine said the update will include:

  • North Waikato cross-boundary issues
  • the Southern Growth Corridor, which includes the Airport and surrounding lands
  • an adjustment of the future land use demand and residential allocations arising from the 2013 Census and re-basing work undertaken by Statistics NZ
  • a re-examination of the greenfields/intensification targets, especially for Hamilton, to make sure they are achievable in the future
  • the Upper North Island Freight Demands Study recently completed by the Ministry of Transport
  • the effects of future special housing areas in Hamilton, should these happen
  • the Southern Links designation
  • work on cross-boundary infrastructure provision and the role of this approach for delivering the Future Proof settlement pattern into the future
  • ongoing rural-residential subdivision pressures adjacent to major settlements.

Return to top >>

Tuakau set to become biggest town in the Waikato District

Tuakau Structure Plan

Waikato District Council’s structure plan for Tuakau has been adopted and will inform an update of the Future Proof Strategy this year

The district council approved the Tuakau Structure Plan last December, culminating in almost two years of work. The plan provides a strategic and spatial framework for future land uses, open space, transport and utility networks for the next 30 years. Developed with local iwi, residents and key stakeholders, the plan reflects the vision of the local community. It will enable Tuakau to thrive as a vibrant town while absorbing the expected growth.

Tony Whittaker, General Manager Strategy and Supports said, “Since inheriting part of the Franklin District in 2010 we have been aware of the pressure for growth in the north Waikato as a result of its proximity to Auckland. The Tuakau Structure Plan is aimed at creating a quality environment for people to live, work and relax while also recognising that people may choose to live in Tuakau and commute to the Auckland region to work. We are anticipating significant growth in Tuakau over the coming years and we welcome it.”

With a current population of 4000 people, the plan caters for an expected 5000 more in Tuakau by 2045. As a proactive planning measure for what is likely to become the biggest town in the Waikato District, the plan also allows for an additional 2000 people.

The writing of the Structure Plan provisions for the District Plan has now commenced.

Return to top >>

Southern Links secured

Southern Links
Southern Links.
Photo: NZ Transport Agency

Looking north from Oaklea Lane toward Southern Links connection
Looking north from Oaklea Lane
toward Southern Links connection.
Photo: NZ Transport Agency

Resource consents have been granted and the designations to secure the Southern Links transport network in and to the south of Hamilton are close to being confirmed following last year’s hearing.

Independent commissioners for Waikato regional, Waipa and Waikato district, and Hamilton councils recommended in October 2014 that the Notices of Requirement for the network issued by Hamilton City Council be confirmed with a 20 year lapse period subject to a range of conditions.

Waikato Regional Council also granted resource consents for two new bridges over the Waikato River and Mangakotukutuku Stream with a 20 year lapse period subject to a range of conditions.

Three appeals, related to individual property specific matters, have been received to the Notices of Requirement and these are being worked through with the appellants with a view to resolving by mediation in the next few months. Once the appeals are resolved the designations will be confirmed and inserted into the councils’ respective district plans.

The designation of the Southern Links network is a Future Proof strategy action which identifies the importance of “early protection of regionally significant transport corridors”.

Transport Agency Highway Manager Kaye Clark is pleased to see the major milestone reached: “It’s great news to have finally achieved both the 20 year route designation and the resource consents for this corridor – this has been our aim from the outset.

“While we’re at least 10 years away from any work starting, so no funding has yet been sought, this decision gives certainty and clarity to all those with an interest in this area about overall plans for the future.

“It has been very important to us to be able to work closely with Hamilton City Council to make sure that together, we get to the right ‘one network’ solution for both local and interregional journeys.”

The 32km Southern Links transport network links the west of Hamilton with the Waikato Expressway through the Peacocke growth area south of the city and across the Waikato River.

Return to top >>

Commitment and collaboration bring Expressway success

Hamilton section
Click image to view larger map.

Work on the final three sections of the Waikato Expressway will get underway this year, following the green light from the NZ Transport Agency board.

The board has approved $1.08 billion to fund construction of the Hamilton and Longswamp sections of the expressway, and has announced the successful tenderer for the $458 million Huntly section, with work starting in September.

Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson said the green light from the board meant that all seven sections of the expressway will be built, under construction or out to tender by the end of 2015.

“This is a significant step forward for the project and the culmination of ongoing work and collaboration between the Transport Agency, Waikato local and regional councils and key partners such as Waikato Tainui.

“After many years of dedication, commitment and advocacy from the region’s leaders, we are on the verge of finishing this exciting project, which could not have happened without their support.

“Close collaboration with these partners who have been united throughout has helped ensure the expressway will support the region’s growth and development plans into the future,” Mr Wilson said.

Return to top >>