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Careful planning needed to address district’s housing needs in years ahead

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A recent assessment of housing capacity in the Hastings district has shown that while Hastings District Council’s planning should be sufficient to meet the demand over the next 10 years, it may need some flexibility regarding the timing of future greenfield development.

The assessment of the expected demand and supply of housing in Hastings over the next 30 years was a requirement of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020, aimed at ensuring council’s planning and infrastructure decisions would enable the sustained high levels of demand for housing to be met into the future.

Presented to Council’s strategy and policy committee today, the assessment found that in the short to medium term over the next 10 years, about 6,500 more homes would be needed to meet demand in Hastings.

Council’s land development planning is guided by the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy (HPUDS) and its Long Term Plan planning framework.

Today councillors heard that while this level of demand could be met under the land capacity planned within HPUDS, it would be prudent to explore bringing some of that residential zoning work forward to act as a buffer, while further intensification of urban areas was explored.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was of paramount importance to achieve the right balance between addressing the district’s ongoing housing needs at the same time as protecting its fertile growing soils.

“Our growing soils are key to the health of our economy, their value can’t be understated.

“At the same time, however, we have a growing population, and people needing houses - it’s a big and complex challenge, and we have to plan carefully to manage the issues.

“As a community we need to be thinking about living differently, we have to be thinking about building upwards rather than outwards, but doing it in a way that’s sustainable and well-designed.

“This is signalled in our Hastings Place Based Housing Plan where a key part of that work is looking at how we can provide affordable, well-designed, medium density living in our existing urban areas.”

While HPUDS had made contingency for residential zoning of greenfield areas, Council will look at bringing forward the next stages of development planned for Brookvale, Lyndhurst, the Havelock Hills, Kaiapo Road and Irongate in 2030, to between 2024 and 2027.

At the same time, an updated intensification strategy identifying regulatory and non-regulatory levers and incentives for medium density housing development would be brought back to Council by June 2022.

Strategy and Policy committee chairman Bayden Barber said that it was important for Council to ensure its planning was fit for purpose and agile enough to respond to population growth, competing land uses, and other infrastructure considerations.

“HPUDS remains in force as our forward development strategy, until such time as it is replaced by a Regional Spatial Strategy, potentially in two to three years’ time.”

In the meantime Council remained committed to finishing work on existing zoned development lots at Lyndhurst, Brookvale, Howard Street and Iona providing development potential for more than 800 sections.

This was in addition to providing for another 150 affordable homes on council-owned land in Flaxmere, alongside Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga’s 123-home Waingākau housing development.

Developers would remain in full control of developing and releasing individual lots to the open market for new home construction. 

Mr Barber said council will continue to closely monitor supply and demand in the market to inform public infrastructure investment decisions, and to encourage greater developer investment within urban areas, rather than expanding urban boundaries.  

2 November 2021

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