2 Dec 2021

Christchurch City Council has identified which areas of the city are unsuitable for enabling more housing under the government’s new rules.

The National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) aims to make it easier for new housing to be built in cities around the country, as local councils will have less ability to request resource consents for proposed developments.

However, councils are able to manage housing development in areas they deem unsuitable if features or areas are listed in the Christchurch District Plan as ‘qualifying matters’ based on site-specific evidence.

Today’s Urban Development and Transport Committee endorsed the features that staff have identified as eligible ‘qualifying matters’, enabling them to proceed with developing District Plan changes. These features will now be investigated further to make sure they are eligible for inclusion in the Christchurch District Plan.

Chair of the Urban Development and Transport Committee, Mike Davidson, says the qualifying matters need to be explored further to ensure Christchurch retains its unique city environment, while still giving effect to the new government legislation.

“While it’s important that we enable more housing and follow the government’s direction around this, it’s equally important that we identify those special areas and features of Christchurch that should be exempt from increased housing density,” he says.

The qualifying matters include some aspects already protected in the current District Plan, such as significant trees, residential character areas and other hazard areas with geotechnical constraints. Additional, proposed qualifying matters relate to infrastructure constraints (such as wastewater networks), the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan Blueprint and emergency radio-communication pathways.

The public will have a chance to give their feedback on what features the Council has identified as qualifying matters in the first half of 2022.

The final plan change will be presented to the Council ahead of the government’s August 2022 deadline, for it to be notified formally.