Chch sections rezoned for housing

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 08:00 04/07/2012

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More than 10,000 sections in Christchurch have been rezoned for housing and another 7445 should be ready to be built on by the end of 2014.

Authorities have been rushing to free up land for new houses for people displaced by the earthquakes and have built up a sizeable land bank, says a report prepared for the Christchurch City Council by its chief executive, Tony Marryatt.

They have been helped by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's decision to redraw the boundaries where new Christchurch housing should go - a decision being challenged in the High Court by a group of disgruntled property developers.

The developers are seeking a judicial review of Cera's 2011 land-use ruling - which effectively identified nearly 22,5000 sections in Christchurch City, Waimakariri and Selwyn as ripe for housing development - and want the new boundaries overturned because they claim Cera and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee abused ''draconian'' powers the law says can be used only for earthquake recovery.

The council has rezoned sufficient land without the new boundaries to provide for up to 10,390 sections, most of them in the Wigram-Halswell and Belfast-Lower Styx areas.

It is also working with landowners on the rezoning of six other large blocks of land that could potentially free up another 7445 sections in the city.

''There are also land holdings with a potential capacity of 4600 sections for which no plan-change process has been initiated,'' Marryatt said.

In some instances it was because of landowner preference, while for others there might be market concerns regarding land oversupply, he said.

''From a market perspective, there is a clear risk of oversupply, particularly if demand is uncertain and the holding costs associated with land development and local infrastructure are expensive.''

He said the council had a process to monitor supply and availability of land and to make it easier to find out where there was available land for housing through a new interactive webpage.

The webpage would not only make it easy for the public to identify subdivisions where sections were available and subdivision consent had been granted, but also allow developers to update the information, he said.

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