City Plan Review update

As discussed in our earlier article, the Christchurch City Council is currently undertaking a full review of the existing Christchurch City Plan. This process is now moving up a gear as the Council works towards achievement of the ambitious timeframes that have been set. This article provides a brief update on key points to be aware of.

The public consultation phase kicked off last week with presentations held at the Council offices. This is to be followed by a public campaign seeking further informal feedback from the community over the next few months. Many of you will have recently received flyers in the mail providing an overview of the process. 

The first stage of review dealing with “recovery” matters will cover nine chapters of the Plan including residential, business, subdivision, development and earthworks, and future development areas, among others.  Some of the key changes foreshadowed at this stage include:

  • Reducing the number of residential zones (from 30 down to 10 or less)

  • Reducing the number of industrial business zones (from 10 to only 3 or 4)

  • A new approach to the Living G zone for Greenfield developments

  • Rezoning of commercial centres to provide for different types of centres and integration with surrounding areas

  • Revision of the flood management areas and rules, along with hazard mapping for the port hills

  • The removal of minimum car parking requirements, as has occurred with the central city

  • A new “future urban development zone” focussed around Halswell and Hendersons Basin

  • Incorporation of other existing work streams, including the North West Area Review and outline development plans for certain areas

Some of these changes are potentially very significant and could affect landowners and occupiers throughout the city. Unlike some other recent plans, these changes affect not only new Greenfield development, but will provide opportunities and potential challenges for activities within existing urban areas. 

The Council has repeatedly emphasised that these proposals simply represent its current thinking and that it is keen to hear the views of the community before the formal notification and submission period commences. 

The intention is for the recovery chapters of the draft plan to be notified in November 2013 and open for formal submissions until approximately February 2014. A hearing is proposed in May 2014 with a decision to be released by the end of June 2014. This is a rapid process that is much faster than any plan review that has occurred in the past. The remaining non-recovery chapters are intended to be completed by late 2016.

An interesting comment that was made in the recent Council presentations is that the review will introduce a shift from “effects-based” planning to “activity-based” planning. This will likely involve specifying the particular activities that are appropriate in specific locations and those which are not. This continues the general theme from the current RMA reforms towards clearer direction in planning instruments and seems to be a shift towards the former approach that existed under the Town and Country Planning Act.

We will be keeping a close eye on progress of the review and provide further updates as they come to hand. In the meantime, further information is available at, which also provides a link to an online forum for public input.

If you have any questions about the review or how it may affect you please let us know. 


Disclaimer: This is a brief summary for information purposes only and is not legal advice.

Posted on Thursday 29th August, 2013 at 08:10 pm