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Enough land, ‘real key’ is unlocking it

A report prepared for the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment says there is sufficient land available here for housing and business development, Gisborne District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee was told.

The committee approved a staff report on urban development capacity to be forwarded to MBIE for inclusion in its national policy statement.

It was told there was also work done by consultancy Market Economics, looking at long-term development capacity, that unfortunately was not ready for this meeting.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said the data supplied by MBIE for the Market Indicators Report ?was historical.

Senior policy adviser Jo Noble said medium-size councils were told by central government they could report annually, because quarterly reports were not providing much useful information.

The annual report was maybe not much more useful but at least they did not have to report so often.

The national policy statement was under review, so there might be more changes in requirements yet to come.

The policy statement tended to look at the long-term capacity Gisborne had in terms of zoning land for both residential and commercial use.

The outcome of that work was that there was sufficient land. The real key was in unlocking that land, she told councillors.

Mrs Seymour said she was surprised to see a 21 percent reduction in the total number of new dwellings consented.

Building services manager Ian Petty said the 2018 data used in the report referred to the calendar year, while the data for 2019 was for the financial year that ended in June. That was why there was such a disparity in the figures.

Consents were generally trending upwards. As people got more equity in their houses, they tended to do further extensions.

There was a shortage of sub-dividable land so there had been more infills.

Things were buoyant at the moment. A lot of new buildings were being built — you could see them along Back Ormond Road.

The council saw ?$102 million of work done last year. It was the bigger jobs that were being done, rather than the small ones.

Andy Cranston said he did not believe the council had a handle on what the demand was at the moment. He was just not confident that the capacity was there.

Ms Noble said demand was the immediate need for housing, capacity was what was theoretically possible given the current land zoning. It did not mean it was development-ready. A big constraint was infrastructure.

As an example, Taruheru was zoned for residential use but it was not development-ready yet because the infrastructure was not in place.

Mrs Seymour said the last paragraph of the report opened the question about climate change. There did not appear to be a lot of land available close to the sea, but areas like Taruheru could suffer from severe weather events.