Auckland is preparing for a new housing boom on the rural fringes of the city that will result in small towns like Warkworth, Pukekohe and Kumeu becoming mini cities. The city’s new Unitary Plan has prompted Auckland Council to lay out a new timetable for greenfield development costing $20 billion and, for the first time, a breakdown of infrastructure problems holding housing back. Today, the council’s planning committee will consider a report to allow for 120,000 new homes at six main locations in the north, north-west and south of the city. It is expected to be approved for public consultation between March 29 and April 18.
“It would be prohibitively expensive to invest in all future urban areas concurrently,” says an officers’ report about the need to provide transport, water, wastewater, stormwater, parks and community facilities over the 30-year-plan. Auckland needs about 400,000 new homes by 2041, many of which will be smaller townhouses and apartments built within the current urban footprint, close to public transport and existing amenities.
The Unitary Plan has increased rural land for housing from 11,000ha to 15,000ha, including “live zoning” some land earmarked for urban development in the future. This has led Auckland Council to rethink the sequencing of land for housing. Factors, like the completion of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in 2021, have brought forward housing plans in Warkworth, and soil testing at Takanini has pushed back 5000 new homes.
Planning committee chairman Chris Darby said the plan made it feasible to build 120,000 new homes but to make it real it has to be funded, which is a challenge for council, central government and Aucklanders. Darby said the council had to grapple with huge infrastructure costs – some of which was budgeted for, but not all. One idea in Mayor Phil Goff’s first budget is to target new residential developments with higher rates to cover the council’s heavy infrastructure burden.
Borrowing more money is not an option because the council is already up against debt levels which could cost it its AA credit rating and higher repayments. The Government, a critic of Auckland Council’s land supply pipeline for new housing, last month announced plans for locally controlled urban development authorities(UDAs) with compulsory land acquisition powers and fast-tracked resource consent processes.
Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said the goal was to ensure enough urban land is available for housing, saying the UDAs need the powers to assemble parcels of land, develop plans, reconfigure infrastructure and build housing.
Darby said there had never been a plan for new housing in “greenfield” areas like the latest council plan. It made the timing of new developments clearer to owners of rural land and infrastructure providers and “probably put a lid on quick buck land speculation”, he said.
The six main rural areas identified for new housing are Warkworth and Silverdale/Wainui/Dairy Flat in the north, Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead in the north-west and Takanini/Puhinui, Drury/Opaheke/Hingaia and Pukekohe/Paerata in the south. About two-thirds of the new houses are planned in the north and north-west and one-third in the south. The council is also sequencing new housing at a number of rural and community settlements from Wellsford in the north to Glenbrook Beach in the south. Other settlements include Albany Village, Hatfields Beach, Helensville, Maraetai and Clarks Beach. Water and wastewater are the main constraints holding back more housing.
In Kumeu/Haupai where the council already has plans in place for 1400 new homes – but plans for a further 6600 homes have been pushed back until after 2028 – Rodney councillor Greg Sayers is calling for an immediate start to a structure plan to cope with the changes occurring. Otherwise, he said, developers could introduce private plan changes and override where schools and other key infrastructure should be located for the community. Sayers supports the idea of running diesel trains to Huapai, saying the community desperately want a train service as an alternative to “horrific” traffic on State Highway 16.
Auckland’s latest plan to turn rural land into housing
- Auckland needs about 400,000 new homes by 2041
- About 70 per cent will be in existing urban areas
- About 30 per cent will be “greenfields”, essentially turning rural land into housing
- The Unitary Plan has increased rural land for housing from 11,000ha to 15,000ha
- This has led to a rethink about the sequencing of land for housing
- Some areas have been brought forward, others put back
- Council needs to spend $6.7b on transport, water, parks and other infrastructure in the first decade alone to fund this growth and another $13b over the next two decades
- Capacity for 32,000 houses are currently in the pipeline, mostly in the north-west and south
- This will be followed by capacity for 21,500 houses over the next decade and 70,000 more houses between 2028 and 2047
- In addition to major development council is sequencing new housing in many small communities, from Hatfields Beach to Maraetai
Areas brought forward
Areas put back
Whenuapai (stage 2)
Drury West (stage 2)
Red Hills North
Warkworth North East
What’s planned and needed in the way of infrastructure
2012-2017 – Warkworth North (business)
2018-2022 – Warkworth North( 2300 houses)
2028-2032 – Warkworth South (3700 houses)
2033-2037 – Warkworth Northeast (1500 houses)
A new wastewater plant needs to be built at Snells Beach to service development in Warkworth North. Expected to take five-to-six years. Later sequencing of Warkworth South provides for the efficient staging of wastewater infrastructure. The Puhoi to Warkworth motorway is due for completion in 2021 and associated upgrades of local roads align with the sequencing of Warkworth North. Warkworth North-East occurs later to allow connections to the town centre.
- Wainui East/Silverdale/Dairy Flat
2012-2017 – Wainui East (4500 houses)
2018-2022 – Silverdale West/Dairy Flat (business)
2033-2037 – Silverdale/Dairy Flat (20,400 houses), Wainui East (7400 houses)
Interim water and wastewater solutions can provide capacity in the short-term to service the live zoned area at Wainui East where there is a cap of 2000 dwellings at the Special Housing Area. Sequencing of remaining areas reflects the need for significant water and wastewater infrastructure, including a new water main from Albany and additional wastewater capacity at Army Bay. The proposed business area in Silverdale-Dairy Flat has been brought forward to provide local jobs, address transport issues and structure planning for this area is likely occur in 2017-2018 to live zone some business land in the short-term.
- Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead/Whenuapai/Red Hills/Scott Point
2012-2017 – Kumeu/Huapai (1400 houses), Whenuapai (1150 houses), Scott Points (2600 houses), Red hills (10,650 houses)
2018-2022 – Whenuapai Stage 1 (6000 houses)
2028-2032 – Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead (6600 houses), Whenuapai Stage 2 (11,600 houses), Red Hills North (1400 houses)
The sequencing of work in the north-west is dependent on completion of a new $538 million ‘Northern Interceptor’ wastewater pipe to handle growth in this area. Interim solutions can meet the wastewater needs for the live zoned area of Red hills and the first stage of Whenuapai until the Northern Interceptor is completed in about 2026. Kumeu, Huapai and Riverhead have been put back to align with safety and capacity issues on State Highway 16, and completion of the Northern Interceptor.
- Takanini and Puhinui
2012-2017 – Walters Rd, Takanini (300 houses), Puhinui (business)
2028-2032 – Puhinui (business)
2038-2042 – Takanini (5000 houses)
The future urban zone is subject to significant flooding hazards and geotechnical constraints due to peat soils. Stormwater costs are high and further work is required to understand the viability of development in this area in the medium to long-term. It is proposed to put back development from 2027-2031 to 2038-2042.
- Hingaia/Opaheke-Drury/Drury West
2012-2017 – Hingaia (3070 houses), Drury South (1000 houses), Bremner Rd, Drury West (1350 houses), Bellfield Rd, Opaheke (300 houses)
2018-2022 – Drury West Stage 1 (4200 houses)
2028-2032 – Drury West Stage 2 (5700 houses), Opaheke Drury (7900 houses)
Proposed interim solutions provide wastewater capacity for initial development in Hingaia, Drury West special housing area(now live zoned), Drury West Stage 1 and Drury South. In the longer term, augmentation of the South and Southwestern interceptors is required to provide wastewater capacity for the full build-out of these areas, including Drury West Stage 2 and Opaheke-Drury. The later sequencing of Drury West Stage 2 allows for a new expressway between Drury, Paerata and Pukekohe, needed to alleviate capacity and safety issues on State Highway 22. Opaheke-Drury has been brought forward slightly as a result of developer interest, but a solution is needed to flooding constraints in combination with the completion of wastewater infrastructure before comprehensive development can occur.
2012-2017 – Wesley, Paerata (4550 houses), Belmont, Pukekohe (720 houses)
2018-2022- Paerata (1800 houses), Pukekohe (7200 houses)
No infrastructure or sequencing considerations given in council report.
Smaller rural and community settlements
Further geotech testing required due to instability in some areas. A new water source will be required to service the Future Urban Zone areas. These areas will also require an upgrade to the wastewater plan, which is likely to take until the early 2020s.
- Algies Bay
Upgrade to the wastewater outfall pipe is necessary to service new connections outside the existing service area.
- Albany Village
Full build out of the Future Urban area will require new water services capacity and road upgrading.
- Hatfields Beach
Wastewater upgrades are necessary to service new developments and likely to take until the early 2020s. With limited water supply, large scale development will require new transmission lines from Albany, which is likely to take 10 years following commencement of design.
Further geotech investigation needed to manage slope stability issues and ensure effective drainage to overland flow paths and streams. The wastewater plant has recently been upgraded and can accommodate about 6000 people. This is sufficient for existing urban zoned areas and part of the Future Urban zone area. The Helensville State 1 areas is the closest Future Urban area to the wastewater plant. Watercare will monitor growth and review additional upgrade options when population nears the plant’s capacity.
The wastewater treatment plant will be upgraded as required in order to maintain discharge compliance and to accommodate growth.
The area has sufficient water and wastewater capacity. Structure planning will need to take cultural heritage and landscape values into account, consistent with the Mangere Gateway Project.
The remaining Future Urban zone is not anticipated to be development ready until 2030 due to transport constraints and market readiness.
- Clarks Beach
A new wastewater outfall at Clarks Beach will be required to service new development, subject to a sub-regional wastewater discharge consent which has been applied for.
- Glenbrook Beach
New development will depend on the new Clarks Beach wastewater outfall, and structure planning for the new area to be developed as a gateway to the village.
2018-2028 – $6.7b(North $2b, North-West $2.2b, South $2.5b)
2029-2038 – $9.7b(North $3.5b, North-West $2.8b, South $3.4b)
2039-2048 – $3.3b(North $1.3b, North-West $700m, South $1.3b)
- NZ Herald
- Photo: Ted Baghurst