Future Urban Land Supply Strategy

By Iain McManus

In November 2015, Auckland Council adopted The Future Urban Land Supply Strategy. 

This strategy outlines a programme for the sequencing and timing of 11,000 hectares of future urban land for development readiness over 30 years. 

However, it does not determine the location of the Rural Urban Boundary (“RUB”) or Future Urban zoned land – these matters will be determined through the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (“PAUP”) process. 

This is a strategic, proactive approach to delivering land in what are predominantly rural areas, which have not previously been identified for urbanisation, and where bulk infrastructure will be required. 

The programme helps to inform:

  • Council’s infrastructure asset planning and management and infrastructure funding priorities, feeding directly into Council’s Long-term and Annual Plans. 
  • Central government (e.g Ministry of Education) with medium to long term projections, and investment decisions. 
  • Private sector infrastructure providers with forward planning and investment decisions. 

Special Housing Areas ("SHA’s") that are located in the Future Urban zone, but are outside the Metropolitan Urban Limit are included within this strategy. 

Scale and Context 

To put 11,000 hectares into context, this is approximately one and a half times the urban area of Hamilton, so this is a significant area of land to be moved from rural to urban usage over the next 30 years. 

The type of urban development anticipated in these areas ranges from high and medium density apartments and attached housing to low density detached dwellings; town and local centres; parks, open space and employment. 

Council considers that the scale of infrastructure required is of such a magnitude that any ad-hoc or out of sequence development approach will have major funding implications for all providers, affect the ability to coordinate delivery and will likely have major implications on the ability to service other areas. This in turn will hamper the ability to provide sufficient development capacity across Auckland. 

Structure Planning

Structure planning and plan changes will be undertaken approximately three years prior to the areas being ready for development. 

Due to the large scale areas sequenced in this Strategy, Council will take a leading role (potentially in partnership with others) in the structure planning process, in line with the programme set out in the Strategy (see below). Local boards, mana whenua and communities will also be involved in the planning of these areas. 

The Programme – Sequencing of the Future Urban Areas

The sequencing of future urban areas spans 30 years, from 2012 until 2041. This timeframe is split into three decades, each of which is split into five year intervals.

It is intended that distributing the live zoning of this greenfield land over this timeframe will enable these areas to be proactively planned and developed in an orderly and cost efficient way. Areas will be ‘ready to go’ with the required bulk infrastructure and able to deliver quality urban outcomes. 

Monitoring and Review

The Strategy will need to respond to changing population growth, market conditions and infrastructure delivery to ensure the delivery of land for development at the right time and in the right place. As such, the strategy will be a live document (i.e. regularly reviewed). 

The Auckland Plan Development Strategy’s Annual Monitoring Report will cover a comprehensive set of key indicators, including measures on development capacity of both existing and future urban land throughout Auckland.

Included in the annual report will be a future urban snapshot, reporting progress on each of the future urban areas identified in the document.

Monitoring will track the progress of delivering land for new communities in six steps:

1. Future Urban zone land in the Operative Unitary Plan
2. Structure plans completed
3. Land rezoned for urban uses
4. Land serviced with bulk infrastructure
5. Subdivision consents
6. New dwellings consented

Progress will be measured against the anticipated growth patterns and targets identified by the Auckland Plan Development Strategy, as well as indicative timeframes set out in the strategy document. 

The focus for monitoring will include:

  • Patterns of composition of population change and growth
  • Balance of growth inside and outside the 2010 MUL
  • Key bulk infrastructure delivery and funding availability
  • Changes in strategic directions and/or priorities

The monitoring focus will be tracked over time to understand the contribution of the Strategy to the objectives of the Auckland Plan’s Development Strategy.

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