District Plan  |  17 Mar 2023

Christchurch residents can now have their say on proposed changes to the city’s planning rules that will allow more intensive development to meet future growth.

The Council’s Housing and Business Choice Plan Change (Plan Change 14) and the Heritage Plan Change (Plan Change 13) have both been officially notified today.

Formal submissions on the plan changes can be made until 3 May 2023.

Plan Change 14 has been designed to bring the city’s District Plan in line with the Government’s new national standards to encourage multi-unit housing developments, called the Medium-Density Residential Standards (MDRS).

When the MDRS take effect, up to three dwellings of up to three storeys will be able to be developed on a property in Christchurch without needing to apply for a resource consent, if all other rules have been met.

Council Head of Planning and Consents John Higgins says people can find out how the proposed changes affect them by using the Council’s interactive map.

“The map shows the different residential and commercial zones we’re proposing, as well as areas we’re suggesting development should be restricted for special reasons, called Qualifying Matters, such as heritage.

“These are significant changes to our planning rules but they will set us up for the future. Our population is growing and it’s predicted we’ll need more than 40,000 new houses in Ōtautahi-Christchurch to ensure everyone has a place to live.

“We need more houses in the right places – close to our growing commercial centres, where there’s good access to services, public transport networks and infrastructure.”

Two residential zones have been introduced across the city – the Medium-Density Residential Zone and the High-Density Residential Zone.

Also proposed are different commercial zones, to allow increased height limits for development within and around the city centre and suburban commercial centres, as well as the re-zoning of some industrial areas.

Under the Heritage Plan Change, new Residential Heritage Areas have been put forward for protection, with a number of new buildings, items and interiors added to the Schedule of Significant Historic Heritage.

All residents living in Christchurch, as well as property owners living overseas or other parts of New Zealand, will receive a letter in the coming days to let them know about the proposed changes to the District Plan and to encourage them to make a submission.

“This is the most important opportunity people have to influence what is ultimately decided about Christchurch’s housing future and how our city grows,” Mr Higgins says.

“Even if you previously gave feedback during our consultation in April and May last year, you now need to make a formal submission for your comments to be considered by the independent hearings panel.”

After the consultation closes on 3 May, full submissions will be made available to view alongside a summary of views and points made in the submissions.

Formal hearings will then take place later this year, after which the hearings panel will make recommendations for the Council to consider for its final decision on the plan changes in March 2024.

For more information, visit ccc.govt.nz/growingcity