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Concerns raised about Urban Development Strategy

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Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has raised concerns about the effectiveness of a strategy developed to manage urban development on the Heretaunga Plains.

The Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy has been developed by the Hawke’s Bay Regional, Hastings District and Napier City Councils as a way to manage future urban growth. It aims to encourage ‘compact design’ that maintains the versatile land of the Heretaunga Plains for production purposes. It also looks to balance increased intensification, with lifestyle choices, sustainable infrastructure and affordable housing.

A review of the strategy was presented to today’s Council meeting for approval. However several councillors raised concerns that the strategy did not effectively address the issue of urban development on fertile soils, had a timeframe of 35 years which was too long and did not address issues such as ‘land-banking’

HBRC Group Manager James Palmer told the meeting the strategy was a high level document and much of the detail around future development sat within regulatory plans and rules and with councils as they considered each new proposal.

Councillor Peter Beaven told the meeting he was deeply concerned about the way the strategy was operating.

“My concern is this strategy is not enforceable. I want to see soil classifications taken into account to ensure fertile soils are not earmarked for future urban development, we need a shorter timeframe to achieve the proposed housing mix and I want Napier City and Hasting District Councils to show us how they will ensure the strategy is followed,” says Mr Beaven.

The Council agreed to let the strategy ‘lie on the table’ until it had the opportunity to discuss the matter further with Napier City and Hastings District Councils.

30 March 2017

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