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4th Special Housing Area could alleviate Govt concerns

Monday June 16 2014

4th Special Housing Area announcement could help alleviate Government density restriction concerns in Auckland

Youth organisation, Generation Zero, is encouraged by the Government’s submission to the Auckland Unitary Plan that acknowledges the significant demand for more housing in inner Auckland. The Government's submission comments on the restrictiveness of density controls. Generation Zero urges the Government to follow through by fast-tracking medium density housing choices around established town centres. The Government has the power to do this in the fourth tranche of Special Housing Areas.

Generation Zero spokesperson, Dr Sudhvir Singh;There is a widely acknowledged need for more housing choices in Auckland, particularly better-sized well-designed housing close to town centres and public transport. Unfortunately, established town centres in the draft Unitary Plan were severely down zoned by Councillors last year, limiting the potential for more housing choices in Auckland, and further squeezing supply into greenfield areas in the form of urban sprawl.”

Following the restrictions on density imposed by the Council, the Unitary Plan has actually reduced the development potential of many town centres compared to what was allowed in the past, despite the overarching Auckland Plan’s call for a quality, compact city; and the Council’s goal to reduce carbon pollution by 40% by 2040.

Dr Singh; “Instead of moving Auckland towards a more liveable low-carbon city, the Council chose to impose overly harsh restrictions on density and height which forces urban sprawl. This will in turn drive higher rates, reduced housing choices, more traffic congestion and more carbon pollution.”

Despite the support for density in their Unitary Plan submission, the Government has also fast-tracked a substantial amount of urban sprawl as part of the Special Housing Areas. Many Councillors aligned with the Government and Government MPs based in Auckland led the call for downzoning and density restrictions during the draft Unitary Plan consultation. Dr Singh; “The Government’s local representatives should support zoning allowing for high quality density in established town centres. It’s taken this submission from Minister Adams on behalf of Cabinet to remind them of what Auckland requires.”

However, The 4th tranche of the Special Housing Areas, to be announced in August, will give the Government and Council an opportunity to follow through on this new sentiment by fast tracking the development of medium density housing choices near public transport corridors and established town centres. Dr Singh; “Following their submission acknowledging the need for greater housing supply in the existing urban area, we urge the Government to fast-track the development of quality housing choices in established town centres in the 4th tranche of Special Housing Areas, rather than giving license to more urban sprawl like the previous announcements.”


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