Napier is growing. While there's some space in existing neighbourhoods, we need to extend our urban boundaries to meet demand. We call this 'greenfield growth'. Napier needs to provide for another 2,500 houses over the next 10 years.
For a number of reasons, we can’t continue to rely on Napier’s flat land for greenfield growth. That’s because:
Growth in the hills will reduce the challenges we face with development on flat land. With any future greenfields growth, we can ensure a quality design that celebrates landscape, cultural and environmental values through thoughtful planting and stormwater management, and the integration of publicly accessible walking tracks.
In order to understand how the District Plan could support future urban growth of the city in the hills to the west of Napier and Taradale, separate consultants were engaged to produce high level structure plans for those areas of the hills identified as being the most likely to support residential expansion.
The purpose of the structure plans is to identify land that is suitable for housing and supporting land uses such as neighbourhood centres, reserves, and transport routes; determine a reasonable yield analysis of how many dwellings can be accommodated in each area; and demonstrate how the areas can be serviced by key infrastructure including the costs of doing so.
The structure plans report has essentially determined that the growth options in the hills are expensive, produce relatively little yield and therefore are considered unfeasible for market driven development at this stage.
Council is however continuing to look at options for providing long term growth in light of the upcoming review of HPUDS in 2021 and has initiated work on a ‘Spatial Plan’ as a precursor to the sub-regional growth strategy. The purpose of the spatial plan is to identify appropriate areas for housing and business growth, including areas of intensification within the urban area, as well as potential greenfield growth options.
The Mission Residential Precinct, which will provide for around 550 homes, is one step in the process of shifting Napier’s growth to the hills. And now we have an opportunity, through the District Plan Review, to signal where additional future urban growth in the hills may be appropriate. This is only the first step in the process and we would need to eventually rezone suitable land. This would occur at a later stage and only following detailed planning and opportunities for community consultation.
A report we commissioned from WSP-Opus identified opportunities and constraints for residential development in the western hills: Taradale Hills, Tironui Drive and surrounds, and Poraiti.
The Esk Hills were not assessed due to their high cultural value, significant natural areas, and because they are relatively remote city centre and Taradale. from key amenities in the
The report identified that land in the northern area of Taradale Hills is potentially suitable for residential scale development on the gentler slopes. There is space for between 300 and 600 homes in this area.
The land in the southern area is generally steeper and more remote from Council infrastructure. It may be suitable for larger sections of around 2000 to 5000m² with onsite water storage and wastewater treatment and discharge, in which case there would be space for between 50 and 150 houses.
Land adjacent to Tironui Drive - and its potential extension – may also be suitable for residential scale development. We could fit between 500 and 900 houses in this area.
The area behind the future Mission Residential Precinct has some steeper slopes and stormwater management challenges, but it may be possible to build on the gentler slopes, if infrastructure challenges can be resolved. We could fit between 300 and 550 homes here.
Initially, Poraiti was identified as potentially suitable for infill development based on its topography and potential connections into the infrastructure and transport network. However, as this is an established rural residential community and the land is highly fragmented, Council is not proposing to pursue further investigations in this area right now.
You can read more on the situation and our initial assessment in the full WSP-Opus report, Greenfield Growth in the Hills Capacity Review – January 2020, which is available on our website.
The study investigated, at a very high level, the potential for growth in the Taradale Hills, Tironui Drive and surrounds, and Poraiti areas taking into account:
If you’re a landowner whose property falls within the Taradale Hills or Tironui Drive and surrounds structure plan areas, we’d like feedback on:
A high-level preliminary structure plan process is scheduled for 2020 for each of the study areas. This process further investigates the technical feasibility of any development, including:
Landowner feedback, coupled with the outcome of the structure plan, helps us consider the costs and benefits of any residential development.
The wider community will be invited to provide feedback on the potential for development in the hills as part of the draft District Plan engagement process.
Both landowner and community feedback, as well as the structure plan analysis, will inform future Council decisions on planning Napier’s growth.
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