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Urban development report shows improving land availability

Marlborough District Council’s Planning, Finance and Community Committee heard today that there will be a good supply of zoned land suitable for housing over the coming years, primarily in the North West of Blenheim, despite a possible lag in the development of land that is already available.

The monitoring report, part of the requirement for the Council to monitor housing and business market indicators each quarter under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity, shows an increase in house sale prices and a slowing of rental price increases in Blenheim’s urban area for the first quarter of 2019. Building and subdivision activity is lower than it has been for some time, reflecting the near-completion of major residential developments at Omaka Landing and Taylor Pass.

However, new developments are coming on stream, primarily in the North West Greenfield area, meaning there will be new sections available in 2020 and significantly more available for development from 2021.

In summary there are:

• 1780 lots (total) zoned greenfield capacity in Blenheim

• 152 equivalent lots serviced and available for development now in greenfield areas

• 197 equivalent lots in specific locations suitable for infill now

• 530 equivalent lots serviced and available for development in 2021

• 1080 equivalent lots (timeline undefined) – ‘sequential development’, which require planning and infrastructure agreements.

Planning, Finance and Community Committee chairman Trevor Hook says that builders are saying they have up to nine months work ahead of them.

“We need developers to get their plans underway for 2021, when over 530 lots will be available for building houses.

“Council is ready to provide the required infrastructure for these lots in the North West development area.”

“The major sewer upgrade has been designed and is now subject to peer review. It is expected to be under construction in the New Year.”

And, after 2021, he says, another 950 lots are likely to become available for development in the North West.

“However, some of these areas need to be developed before others – what we call sequential development – and we need the cooperation of landowners and developers to make this happen in the most cost-efficient and well planned way.”

“Overall the picture is reasonably good, but we need the cooperation of developers and landowners to achieve optimum results.”

Council Chief Executive Mark Wheeler said the total supply of lots is also subject to the outcome of the Marlborough Environment Plan (MEP). He noted as an example a submission to the Proposed MEP last year to rezone an area of land adjoining Battys Road.

“If this application is ultimately approved by the MEP Hearings Panel, it would provide land for hundreds more new houses, on top of the current 1780 lots in zoned greenfield capacity.”

Available lots are calculated at 10 per hectare, with demand expected to average around 110 lots per year, over 30 years. Please note: a Residential Development Capacity Update is attached.

More information on the Blenheim Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment is available here

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