Applying for Resource Consent

A resource consent is required if your proposal does not comply with one or more of the ‘permitted activity’ rules in the Hastings District Plan.

The District Plan divides activities into categories which determine:

  • whether or not a resource consent application is required, and
  • whether resource consent must be granted or can be refused and what conditions, if any, could be imposed.

Any proposed activity or structure requires a land-use and/or subdivision consent unless it is a permitted activity and fully complies with all the relevant rules in the District Plan.  If you would like certainty for those activities that do not need a resource consent, you can apply for a Certificate of Compliance.

If more than one resource consent is required for your development, you are encouraged to lodge all applications at the same time with the relevant Councils.  You may also need a resource consent from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council..

The Resource Consent Hierarchy

There are five different levels of activities which are:

Permitted Activities

Permitted Activities are those which can proceed as of right, because they comply in all respects with relevant Standards and Terms (rules) specified in the District Plan. Where an activity does not comply with one or more of the relevant rules, the District Plan will indicate how it may be considered

Controlled Activities

A resource consent is required for these activities.  Provided the proposal meets the District Plan standards this type of consent has to be granted, and conditions can be imposed to control the effects of the activity.  Applications for controlled activities may be non-notified, and without the need for written approval from affected persons.

Restricted Discretionary Activities

A resource consent is required for these activities. When considering an application the Council has limited (or restricted) its discretion to particular matters listed in the District Plan.  Council can grant or refuse the application and can impose conditions:

Council will restrict the exercise of its discretion to the ability of the activity to achieve the particular Outcomes of the General or Specific Performance Standards and Terms which it fails to meet and to achieve the assessment criteria for Restricted Discretionary activities in the zone or District Wide Activity section to which the application applies

Discretionary Activities

A resource consent is required for these activities. The applications at this level will be assessed according to criteria set out in the District Plan, and Council has the discretion to grant or refuse the consent.  

Non-Complying Activities

A resource consent is required for these activities. Non-complying activities are activities that are not necessarily prohibited, but which:

  • breach standards contained in the District Plan, or
  • are not provided for in the District Plan. For example an office building in the Residential Zone.

Consent for these activities will only be granted if:

  • any adverse environmental effects they may have will be minor, or
  • the activity will not be contrary to the Objectives and Policies of the District Plan.

Prohibited Activities

Resource consent applications will not be accepted for activities which are specified as prohibited under the District Plan. For example oil and gas exploration over the unconfined aquifer are prohibited activities.  

The only way to change the status of prohibited activities is to change the District Plan itself.

Preparing your resource consent application

You are encouraged to speak to an Environmental Consents Planner at the Council before applying for resource consent.  Please contact us to make an appointment, to discuss your application.

A pre-application discussion will help:

  • confirm whether a resource consent is needed
  • explain the resource consent process and what this involves
  • identify the relevant issues and information needed with your application
  • identify properties and people that might be affected by the proposal and any consultation required
  • identify specialists who may need to be involved in assessing the application, and
  • identify any initial concerns with the proposal that you will have to address in
    your application
  • determine the fee to be deposited with the application

The processing of a resource consent application is generally simpler, faster and less costly if you have already sought and taken the Council’s advice before making your application.

What should you include in your application?

You, or someone representing you - for example, your agent, surveyor, architect or planning consultant - must complete a resource consent application form.  There is also available a prelodgement checklist, which is for your use and will help to identify the information that is required with your application.

Plans and other material supplied with a land-use or subdivision consent application should be accurate and provide enough detail to enable any person to gain a reasonable understanding of the application, and the potential effects of the proposal.

One of the most critical parts of the application is the content and quality of the Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE). You must prepare an AEE to go with your application - learn more about AEEs and download the resource consent application form by going to the Assessment of Environmental Effects page.

If you lodge an incomplete application, it may be rejected by the Council. If this happens, you will be informed about the reasons for the rejection, the information that is required to make up a complete application, and you will have to reapply.

Written approval from affected persons/neighbours

It is courteous to consult your neighbours before starting construction work, but you are not legally bound to unless your project requires a resource consent and the Council considers your neighbours an affected party (see Affected Persons for more information).

If your neighbour is building something you are not comfortable with, you could pay them a friendly visit or contact us and ask for information about their project.

If your neighbour’s project is permitted by the District Plan you have no legal ability to become involved through the Resource Management Act processes.  However, you could approach your neighbour to discuss your concerns or possible options.

Fees and charges

A fee (deposit) must be paid when an application for a resource consent is lodged with the Council.  Council processing time is charged at an hourly rate and costs in excess of the deposit paid will be invoiced.  This is irrespective of whether resource consent is subsequently granted or refused. If an application is granted, monitoring fees may also be payable.

You can find the applicable fees and charges here.

You may require the services of professional consultants, which will be additional to the cost.

Please note that the applicant is the person responsible for all costs associated with the application.

Submit an application

To submit your application to Council either:

  • Deliver the application to Planning and Regulatory Services, 2nd Floor, main civic administration building, 207 Lyndon Road East, Hastings, or
  • Mail the documents to:
    Environmental Planning Team
    Resource Management
    Hastings District Council
    Private Bag 9002
  • Or contact the Duty Planner and arrange to email your application to Council.  Your emailed application must include the application form and proof of payment of the deposit fee.

Application Lodgement check

Before your application can be formally lodged it will go through a check to ensure that all the information needed to make a decision on the consent is included. The Resource Management Act checklist ( is available to help you check that all the information needed has been included with your application.

The following list provides a summary of the main details required for most consents.

  • payment of a fee deposit
  • current copy of the certificate of title (less than three months old)  You can request that Council obtain a copy of this for which you will be charged
  • completed and signed resource consent application form
  • all requested information, including:
  • name and address of applicant and owner/occupier of the site to which the application relates
  • description of the activity and its location
  • type of consent sought and other resource consents required
  • assessment of Environmental Effects
  • one set of accurate plans to a recognised metric scale – eg, 1:100, 1:200
  • all plans should have a north point.
  • all plans should clearly show the name of the person and the company that prepared the plans; the address of property; the date when the plans were drawn; a scale and a unique plan reference or identification number and/or variation number where relevant (Please note that even if a building consent application has been lodged it will still be necessary to supply additional sets of plans for this application
    • provision of specialist reports supporting the application)
    • any other information required by the District Plan
    • written approvals of affected persons (if required), and
    • date and signature.

Please note that if your application does not include an adequate assessment of environmental effects or the information required by the District Plan, the Council may reject your application then return it, outlining the further information required in order for it to be formally accepted.

Lodging the application

Once your application has been checked for completeness it will be lodged for technical review. You will receive a letter confirming that you application has been lodged. The processing ‘clock’ starts at this point.

Council process

Once your application has been formally received, you will receive a letter of acknowledgement. The application will then be allocated to an Environmental Consents Planner who will manage the process. Your proposal will be given a comprehensive review and checked against the District Plan. This will identify any other areas for which consent is required.

A site visit will be undertaken, the planner will check to see if anyone is potentially adversely affected by the proposal, and will determine if additional information is required.

If the planner decides further written approvals or information is needed, this will be requested in writing. While affected party approval is being obtained or further information sought, the processing time ‘clock’ is stopped.

Once the Planner has received all necessary information, a report on your application will be prepared. The report will include recommendations about whether Council should grant a resource consent, and what conditions should be placed on it.

Sometimes Council will have to "notify" your application so it can hear other people’s views. An application can be notified to the public generally or it can only notified to those people Council thinks are adversely affected by the proposal (limited notification).

Go to the Notified or non-notifed resource consents page for more information.

The decision on whether your application has to be notified is made within 20 working days of receipt of the application (minus days awaiting further information/written approvals).  An application may not have to be notified if the Council is satisfied that any adverse effects are minor and either there are no persons affected by the proposal or the written approval of all affected parties has been obtained.

Council hearing

A hearing is a public meeting where a panel or a commissioner hears evidence for and against your application, and decides whether to approve it. Only you (and your experts), anyone who has made a submission (and their experts), and the council reporting planner, are allowed to speak at the hearing. You’ll have the chance to comment on an officer’s report about your application, and on any submissions that have been made.

Does a resource consent expire?

Consent holders have five (5) years to complete the works associated with the consent. If the approved works are not completed and your proposal established on the site within that timeframe, the consent lapses. Once the works are completed, and the activity established on the site the consent lasts for an unlimited period, unless a specified period is stated in the consent.

Can you apply for an extension of the lapse time on the resource consent? Yes, if the works are not completed within the five years, a time extension may be considered and fixed by the Council.  The application for an extension and decision must be made before the consent lapses.   The Resource Management Act (section 125) sets out the matters Council has to consider when deciding on your application for an extension.

The decision

You will receive a letter advising you of the decision on your application.

Often, when a resource consent is granted, it is subject to conditions. For example, landscaping may be required. If you decide to go ahead with the proposal you must comply on an on-going basis with any conditions.

The Council will undertake monitoring, including a site inspection, to make sure that you comply with the conditions of your resource consent. You may be charged for any monitoring that is necessary.

You can challenge the decision on your application, or particular conditions of consent if you are not satisfied with them.  An appeal to a decision on a publicly notified or limited notified application must be made to the Environment Court. For a non-notified application (or a publicly notified or limited notified application where there were no submitters) you can lodge an objection to the Council in most cases.  If you want to object to a decision or to appeal it to the Environment Court this must be done within three weeks.  Decisions made by the Council include detailed information on rights of appeal.

A resource consent generally lapses five years after you receive the decision, if the proposal is not completed by then.

The resource consent is approved or declined

You’ll get a letter in the mail telling you whether your application has been approved or declined. The time taken to inform you will depend on whether the application was notified and whether there was a hearing.

If the resource consent is approved

Your resource consent will tell you:

  • what conditions the council has put on the way you may carry out the activity. These conditions will aim to reduce the environmental effects of the activity
  • whether your resource consent has an expiry date, and what it is. Some resource consents last forever, while others have a limited life. You have to apply to the council at least six months before the expiry date if you want to extend it.

With notified consents you generally have to wait until an appeal period of 15 working days has passed before you start work on the activity. This gives people time to lodge an appeal with the Environment Court if they still oppose your application. The resource consent isn’t officially issued until any appeals have been resolved. If there are no appeals, you can start work at the end of the appeals period. Bear in mind that only 1% of all decisions are appealed.

Once a resource consent has been issued, in most cases you need to make significant progress on your activity within a certain timeframe, or else it will lapse and you will need to apply again. Unless specified otherwise in the resource consent, the consent will lapse after five years. Make sure you understand what applies in your case.

If the resource consent is declined

If you think the council’s decision to decline the consent is unfair, you may be able to formally object to the council (depending on the circumstances), or you can lodge an appeal with the Environment Court. You have to make your objection or appeal in writing within 15 working days of receiving the council’s decision. You can also object or appeal if you don’t like the conditions on a resource consent.

If you formally object to the council, you may be invited to a meeting of councillors and officers where you can explain your objections. If you appeal to the Environment Court, judges and commissioners will review the case and confirm or overturn the council’s decision.

Get professional advice before you lodge an appeal. It can be expensive and time-consuming, and you might not win. A lawyer or other resource management professional should be able to tell you whether your appeal is likely to be successful.

Can the conditions ever change?

The council has the right to review the conditions in your resource consent but only under certain circumstances. In some cases a council might also include a specific condition on the approval providing for the review of conditions at set times.

You can also apply to the council to change or cancel any condition (except the duration) at any time. You need to outline your reasons and the changes proposed. The council will be concerned about any additional effects and the effect on affected persons, including whether any new persons are affected (compared with when the consent was initially granted).

Can I transfer the resource consent?

This depends on the type of consent. Any consent to do something on the land (called a land use consent) is attached to the land and transfers to any new owner when you sell the land.

Other types of consent (for example, a consent to take water) are able to be transferred with the land to any new owner. Whether this applies depends on what the consent, and sometimes what the plan, says. It’s not automatic. If you’re not sure about whether your consent can be transferred, ask council staff.

You can also give up (surrender) your resource consent. This will mean that you no longer have the right to do the activity, and you no longer have to pay any monitoring or supervision charges to the council.

Doing everything properly at the start can save a lot of time, money and possible misunderstandings later on. Treat your application as the start of your project, not an obstacle to be dealt with at the last minute.


Contact the Environmental Consents Planning team at the Council on or phone 06 871 5000. Alternatively, make an appointment to see the Council's Duty Planner in the main civic administration building, 207 Lyndon Road East in Hastings