Housing, Land use and growth  |  8 Jan 2024

The remainder of public hearings for Christchurch City Council’s proposed Plan Change 14 have been postponed following a decision released today by the independent hearings panel.

The panel will now resume hearings on the Housing and Business Choice Plan Change (Plan Change 14) between 18 March and 30 April, instead of from 30 January as originally scheduled. The exact new hearing dates are yet to be determined. 


Public hearings have already been held throughout October and November 2023 and six more hearing days were scheduled for this year.  


Submitters and further submitters on Plan Change 14 have been informed today about the adjournment of the hearings. 


Council Head of Planning and Consents John Higgins says the delay will allow more time to get clarity from the new Government about the next steps for the plan-change process. 


“The Council had previously asked the Minister for the Environment for permission to halt the hearings on 8 December but was informed she was unlikely to consider the request until after 26 January, which is very close to when the hearings were originally scheduled to resume. 


“Delaying the hearings allows more time for the Council, submitters and the independent hearings panel to hear from the Minister and to clearly understand the next steps.” 


Plan Change 14 was publicly notified for submissions between 17 March and 12 May 2023. 


It was designed to bring the city’s District Plan in line with the former government’s national direction to encourage multi-unit housing developments – called the Medium-Density Residential Standards (MDRS) – and to allow greater intensification in and around the central city and suburban centres. 


However, the new Government’s coalition agreement outlines that it intends to make MDRS optional for councils. 


If the Minister changes the deadline for Plan Change 14, it will allow the Council to consider the legislative change and right response for Ōtautahi Christchurch.