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Plan Change 19 understood: what it means for our communities

The Central App

Aimee Wilson

06 June 2024, 5:45 PM

Plan Change 19 understood: what it means for our communitiesDevelopers and first home owners the big winners of Plan Change 19. PHOTO: File

The biggest changes Central Otago communities will notice as a result of Plan Change 19 is more infill of inner residential towns.

Deputy Mayor Neil Gillespie, who also led the hearings panel over the past two years, said this was particularly the case for his hometown Cromwell, which has a large number of thousand square metre sections, that will now have the ability to be subdivided.

The message from submitters throughout the process had been to not go and intensify small towns like Bannockburn, Lowburn and Tarras.

“Keep the town within its nominal town boundary . . . and intensify that and start there first. And, it makes sense because we're trying hard as a country to decarbonise and a whole lot of things to be better use of our fuels and stop burning carbon. So, if you have people living in walking distance to things or cycling distance then that's going to be a bit easier.”

Cr Gillepsie, who features on this week's edition of The Outlet podcast, said the plan change process was about making sure that the district had a plan for residential land being available for the next 30 years. 

“So, we worked hard with our community to try and understand where they wanted the growth to happen and worked through that process.”

When asked who the real winners in all of this were, Cr Gillespie said some developers might think they're going to be the winners because there's some land that they can now subdivide to different sizes to have different housing topologies.

“And, hopefully, I guess you'd like to think that it means that people trying to get into a house of their own, or rental or whatever, have different choices and options available that they could be the winners if you like. But, I don't really look at it being winners and losers - it's about doing the right thing for your community to try and enable people to come back to and, in some cases, come back here.”

Enabling smaller sized sections provided more people with certainty, and much of this spare land was privately owned, with council as just the ‘enabler’ of the plan.

Cr Gillespie said the panel worked really hard to try and understand what the community wants to look like in the next 30 years, but admitted the reality was it would never be perfect.

“We've done the best we can. Some people say that we should do this and do that, but you know we've been charged with having to balance all of those different views and work that through, and the expectation is that we are on the right track.”

Tune in to this week's The Outlet podcast to hear more from Cr Gillespie.

Read more: Plan Change 19 sets future direction