Thursday, October 21, 2021

Reimagining Richmond South: Council to enable 2,000 new homes

A new project to help meet growing housing demand in Richmond has been approved by Council today, and local communities are set to play an important role in shaping the potential development.

Tasman District Council Planner Jeremy Butler is leading the Richmond South Structure Plan work and he is looking forward to learning more from locals about their vision for the area before any detailed planning begins.

“Locally, we need to provide for new buildings at scale within greenfield developments because, even with greater intensification within existing residential areas, we will not have enough dwellings to house everyone who wants to live here," said Butler.

“Richmond South was previously indicated as a potential urban growth area through the Nelson-Tasman Future Development Strategy 2019 (FDS 2019) and there is current strong interest in development. This area is likely to appeal to families due to nearby schools and work opportunities.

Butler said with the continuing high growth rates in the area, and no slowing in the demand on the horizon, the Council has a responsibility to look ahead.  With only a few years of serviced land available for development it is appropriate to start this process now.

“With today’s decision by Council for the Reimagining Richmond South project engagement to go ahead, we have an opportunity to work with the current landowners, neighbouring communities, and potential future residents to shape the Richmond South area and provide around 2,000 new homes.

“We will do this through the creation of a structure plan. This will be a detailed guide for how Richmond South should develop, looking at things like housing design and density, areas for business activity, how people will get around, where’s best for reserves and other spaces for people to come together, as well as the natural environment and valued cultural heritage.

“We will engage with local iwi and work closely with stakeholders to ensure the plan is well-informed. The vision for the area and design of the aspects that make up the structure plan will reflect community aspirations.

"Next week, any affected landowners will receive an invitation to be part of this structure plan project. We will also run open sessions with the wider interested public to ensure that the Richmond South of the future is a great place to live, work, and spend time,” said Mr Butler.

Butler recognised that the Richmond South land has productivity values but spoke to the critical shortage of developable greenfield land around Richmond and said this area is considered the best option for providing houses in a reasonable timeframe.

Tasman District is experiencing high rates of urban growth and housing shortages. The year to May 2021 saw a record 633 building consents issued for new dwellings.

However, house prices continue to increase and Councillors acknowledged the urgent housing pressures before approving the Reimagining Richmond South project.

The project covers the area from the current southern boundary of Richmond, southwards to between White Road and Ranzau Road, and into the foothills of the Barnicoat Range.

Tasman District Council Environmental Policy Manager Barry Johnson said the Richmond South structure plan and subsequent plan change is part of a wider Council programme of work to enable the provision of housing for our growing population.

“Alongside the Richmond South project, we will also be going through the process to enable more housing in areas in Brightwater, Māpua, and Motueka that were identified in the FDS 2019, and additional areas in Murchison and Wakefield.

Changing these areas to make it easier to create locations with higher densities will enable the best use of land already earmarked for housing and contribute to reducing the demand on additional productive land for houses.

“The plan change process for these areas will include full consultation with the current landowners and neighbouring communities,” said Johnson.

Tasman District Council is also working on the Nelson Tasman 2021-2051 Future Development Strategy that will set out where and how residential and business growth within Nelson and Tasman regions will occur over the next 30 years.

This project is in its third phase and has been accepting feedback and ideas on areas that may be suitable for future residential, business, and industrial land.

Feedback on suitable development land can be shared through the council website form before 26 October.

Longer-term, Johnson said his team are continuing work to replace Council’s current resource management plans with a new plan named Aorere ki uta, Aorere ki tai - Tasman Environment Plan.

“Our team has made good progress on the Tasman Environment Plan following input from locals who shared their experiences and views on the district’s issues and opportunities during our community engagement last year.

“We’ve been defining and investigating issues and options, gathering relevant technical information, and working with landowners on mapping that supports the plan. We will be back talking to our communities again next year about our draft options for how we grow as a district while caring for our environment,” 

What is a structure plan?

Structure planning is a type of spatial planning that takes a big picture view of an area and how it can best develop to meet the needs of communities while taking into account any constraints on the land. This requires research and technical assessments, as well as a need to understand desired community outcomes. This type of place-making is widely recognised to be preferable to ad hoc development. 

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