District Plan Review - Industrial Land

The District Plan Review proposes to divide all business land within Christchurch (outside the central city) into two categories: commercial and industrial.

Our first article considered the implications of the Proposed Plan for commercially zoned land throughout Christchurch. In this article we comment how the Proposed Plan affects industrial land.

What is industrial land?

For the purpose of this article, industrial land is any land that has a proposed “industrial” zoning under the Proposed Plan. The easiest way to check if your land has a proposed industrial zoning is to use the “Property Search” on the Council’s website at http://www/proposeddistrictplan.ccc.govt.nz/

The industrial zones will replace several of the current Business zonings in the City Plan for existing industrial areas, including Business 3, 4, 4T and 5 (among others). In addition, they will apply to several Greenfield areas that currently have a rural zoning, but are intended to be developed for industrial use. The largest areas of new industrial land are located at Hornby and Belfast. Other recent proposals for industrial land in the North West Review Area have not been addressed in this stage of the review.

The Proposed Plan provides four new distinct industrial zones, which are intended to reflect the different types of industrial activities that are appropriate in those locations. These are:

  • Industrial General Zone – industrial activities that can occur in close proximity to more sensitive zones due to their nature and limited effects (such as noise, odour and traffic).
  • Industrial Heavy Zone –industrial activities that generate potentially significant adverse effects on the surrounding environment or involve the use and storage of hazardous substances.
  • Industrial Park Zone - industrial activities in high technology and other similar industries that seek to locate in a high amenity environment, dominated by open space and landscaping.
  • Industrial Office Zone - enables office activities in existing industrial office park areas at Addington and Russley.

In addition to the above, there are a number of “sub-zones” that contain site specific controls on land use and development in certain areas and which may differ from the rules discussed below.

What activities can occur in these zones?

The Proposed Plan is structured to provide a detailed list of the activities that can occur within each of the above zones and identify which activities require consent.

As expected, the focus of these zones is industrial activities, which can occur as of right without the need for resource consent (subject to built form rules). The one exception to this is the Industrial Office Zone, where despite its “industrial” classification, industrial activities are not permitted.

The Proposed Plan, generally seeks to avoid non-industrial activities in industrial zones. The key reasons for this are to protect the establishment and ongoing operation of industrial activities and to prevent competition with the central city and commercial centres elsewhere within Christchurch.

 Notwithstanding the above, there is limited provision for some industrial activities that would normally be expected to occur within commercial zones. In the following sections we consider the ability to establish commercial services, retail activities, and offices within these industrial zones.


The Proposed Plan does not support the establishment of offices in industrial zones. For the Industrial General, Heavy and Park zones, the only office activities that are permitted are those which are “ancillary to” a permitted activity and which comply with strict size limits. Any other offices will require resource consent, which is likely to be very difficult to obtain. 

Other than ancillary offices, the only exception to the above is the Industrial Office zone. This is not a true industrial zone and makes specific provision for offices to occur as a permitted activity. However, it is strictly limited in its scope and only applies to existing areas where offices have been lawfully established in Addington and Russley.

The creation of this zone is recognition from the Council that although they do not support offices in these locations, the horse has already bolted. This is in apparent contrast to the approach of Minister Brownlee (as reflected in various recovery documents), who sees no issue with the continued establishment of offices in these locations.    

Retail activity

Retail activity is treated similarly to offices and is generally discouraged in industrial zones unless it is of a small scale and is ancillary to permitted activities. This applies to the Industrial General, Heavy and Park zones.

Once again, the Industrial Office zone is somewhat different and interestingly does not provide for any retail to occur as a permitted activity, regardless of its scale or association with other activities. All retail activities in the Industrial Office zone will require resource consent.

Commercial services

Commercial services are defined as “a business providing personal, property, financial, household, private or business service to the general public.” They include a wide range of services such as banks, hairdressers, real estate agents, postal services, and gymnasiums (among others).

Commercial services are permitted with no restrictions in Industrial Park and Offices zones. However, they are not permitted within Industrial General and Heavy zones and will require consent. 

How does this affect you?

In broad terms, these zones are more prescriptive than the existing Business zones in the City Plan. They more clearly identify which activities are appropriate and which are not. This is a recurring theme throughout the Proposed Plan.

As for the commercial zones, how these proposed changes affect you will depend on the proposed zoning for your particular property and a comparison to the zoning and rules that currently exist.  A site specific assessment is required to determine the impact of the changes on a particular property.

Submissions are now open on the Proposed Plan, and will close on 8 October 2014. This is your opportunity to let the Council know what you think of the changes in the Proposed Plan.

To find out more:

  • See our other articles about the implications for activities on commercial and residential land
  • View the draft plan and related documents at www.proposeddistrictplan.ccc.govt.nz
  • Contact us if your have any specific queries

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

Posted on Thursday 11th September, 2014 at 12:15 pm