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A new and better way to manage business land plan

A new and better way to manage business land planning

15 November 2006

Auckland businesses, potential business investors, local councils and the public will all benefit from a new approach to ensure there is sufficient business land and supporting infrastructure to achieve long-term sustainable development in the Auckland region.

The Auckland Region Business Land Strategy, which was released this week, supports wider moves to promote ‘compact city’ growth. This will assist Auckland’s local councils to plan and provide for sufficient, appropriate business land so as to accommodate business growth for the next 25 years. The Auckland Regional Council’s role is also to ensure that there is appropriate transport infrastructure to support this growth.

Auckland Regional Council Chairman Michael Lee says the Strategy represents a new and better way of planning for and managing business land needs while also constructively dealing with a finite land resource. Auckland comprises only 2% of the country’s land area, which is one of the reasons why the Council is also working proactively with Waikato and Northland regional councils on business land planning.

“Providing for economic growth involves more than simply providing for more and more land. It’s about better utilising the land that we already have, improving integration with existing infrastructure, and getting a better match between sustainable land use and infrastructure.

“By providing a consistent framework for the region, the Strategy will aid business investment decision making through its clearly stated desired outcomes and by preventing ad hoc decision-making,” says Mr Lee.

The Strategy’s six goals are as follows:

• Encourage economic development.

• Encourage growth in town centres, high-density centres and corridors.

• Integrate transport and land use.

• Maximise local employment opportunities.

• Enable land extensive business sectors to grow in appropriate areas that are serviced by road and adequately separated from sensitive activities.

• Re-use and/or redevelop under-utilised ‘brownfield’ business land.

Importantly, the Strategy also identifies that, through the Regional Growth Forum, Auckland local authorities need to collectively identify appropriate new business ‘greenfield’ land to cater for the future growth of large, land extensive business sectors such as manufacturing and transport and storage.

Mr Lee says that one of the Strategy’s biggest challenges lies in the extent to which all of the councils can work together to implement the directions identified in the Business Land Strategy.

“The Strategy includes a stock take of how much business-zoned land remains in the region and the rate at which it is being used up. The ARC is also undertaking separate research into the scale of ‘land banking’, which is keeping potential business land off the market.

“The successful implementation of the Strategy ultimately depends upon the ARC and local councils being able to work together and agree on how best to deal with any potential issues before they affect the region’s economic growth.”

Solutions identified in the Strategy include encouraging the growth and intensification of retail and other business service sectors in town centres so that they can support the redevelopment and revitalisation of Auckland’s centres. Business sectors that cannot support town centres need to be provided with alternative sites so that they can grow.

Mr Lee says that councils will need to accept that, although making more land available for development may appear to be the easiest option, it is not always the best solution.


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