Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Hastings to build on rapid growth of district

Hastings District Council says it is tackling a massive work programme to help manage the rapid and significant growth being experienced in the district.

This week the Council’s strategy and policy committee was presented a paper outlining the programme of work needed to respond to projected growth over the next three to five years and beyond.

Committee chairman, Bayden Barber said the growth was contributing to a severe housing shortage and strong development uptake of residential and industrial development capacity.

“As a council we’re dealing with a complex picture that has to take into account the current housing crisis, large consenting volumes, projected demand for more land for industrial growth, the increase in infrastructure that’s required to provide for growth, and the impact of upcoming Government legislation changes,” Mr Barber said.

“At the heart of all of this work we also need to protect our fertile soils – we can’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”

A key response from the council to this rapid growth is the establishment of a new Future Growth Unit to manage future development and infrastructure planning.

“The Future Growth Unit will lead and co-ordinate our planning response so that we can effectively manage for growth in the medium and long-term while also dealing with very large volumes of building and resource consents in the here and now,” Mr Barber said.

To date, specialist resources are being applied within the unit and a work programme is being finalised that will include a Future Development Strategy (in conjunction with Napier City Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council), essential services (infrastructure) development plans, a review of the Development Contributions Policy and Hastings’ contribution to the proposed Regional Spatial Strategy, he said.

The Future Development Strategy is a requirement under the Government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020.

The committee paper outlines the need for partner engagement, particularly with mana whenua and the other local authorities in the region. The paper also highlights the need for a thorough and robust methodology to the planning and investment work that can withstand possible future appeals to the Environment Court.

Council will receive regular updates on the work of the Future Growth Unit and while council is not yet in a position to amend the Long Term Plan (LTP) to account for future infrastructure investment requirements, the draft Annual Plan 2022/23 will contain a section outlining the need for future growth infrastructure investments, Mr Barber said.

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