The draft Auckland Plan was notified on Tuesday 20 September 2011. The Auckland Plan is going to be the guiding planning document and set a blueprint for development in Auckland over the next 30 years. It is different from other planning documents in that it aligns both land use and infrastructure needs. Mayor Len Brown's goal is to make Auckland the world's most liveable city by 2040.

A number of supporting planning documents are also being prepared by Auckland Council. The Economic Development Strategy, the Auckland City Centre Master Plan, and the Waterfront Plan provide further detail to support the outcomes sought by the Auckland Plan. These plans have also been notified for submissions. Submissions are due on all four plans by 4pm on Tuesday 25 October 2011.

There is a tight time frame for submissions and hearings on the Auckland Plan so that it can be adopted by February next year. The momentum for the Auckland Plan to be finalised quickly is so that it can inform the Long Term Plan 2012-2022 which will set out funding sources and expenditure, and the Unitary Plan which will replace the current district and regional plans.

Draft Auckland Plan

Key issues facing Auckland are growth and intensification. With population density the need to have a comprehensive and efficient public transport system also comes into play.

A high growth scenario of an extra 1 million people living in Auckland in 30 years (to our current population of 1.5 million), means an additional 400,000 dwellings will be required. The draft plan has set a clear line in the sand that we cannot continue to sprawl onto rural land, and we will need to adapt to compact city life. This is not however to be at the expense of good urban design for the built environment and public spaces.

Key proposals for growth, intensification, public transport and urban design are:

  • The Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) is to replace the previous metropolitan urban limits. The RUB will define the limits of long term growth for at least the next 30 years, and no urban development will be allowed outside the RUB except for the release of limited and staged greenfields land in specific locations.
  • Intensification is to be encouraged by up-zoning land in development areas to allow greater densities. Infrastructure and amenities are to be provided at the right place and the right time to support development. Targeted reductions in development contributions and other financial incentives to encourage intensification are to be investigated.
  • An integrated public transport system is to be planned, developed and operated as one network, to provide effective connections within Auckland. Public transport trips are targeted to increase by provision of infrastructure projects (the City Centre Rail Loop, rail to the airport, additional harbour crossing, busways and bus feeder services), land use planning, intensification in rail corridors, and effective travel demand management.
  • To improve the quality of urban living across Auckland. A development design compendium is to be developed to sit alongside the Unitary Plan. Council property is to be used as a catalyst for change. The Council will work with private and third party sectors, and have dedicated consent account managers and cross-council assessment teams.

Other Draft Plans

Draft Economic Development Strategy – provides more detail and action points to achieve the goal of increasing Auckland's annual average regional exports, real GDP and productivity to improve our economy by 20 places in 20 years in current OECD GDP per capita rankings.

Draft Auckland City Centre Masterplan – outlines eight strategic changes to set the city on the path of becoming an international city centre.

Draft Waterfront Plan – details how to add to the vibrancy and charm of Auckland's waterfront and harbour.

Submissions and Hearing Process for the Draft Auckland Plan

The submission process for the Draft Auckland Plan is under the special consultative procedure in the Local Government Act 2002, which means there is only one chance to make a submission, and no right of appeal on the merits.

Submitters will be heard by the Council in November. The committee responsible for the Auckland Plan is the Auckland Future Vision Committee, which is a committee of all Councillors led by Mayor Len Brown. It is likely that submitters will only be given 5-10 minutes to speak to their submissions and answer questions from the committee. It will therefore be important that submissions are clear and direct on the outcomes required.

Bell Gully can assist you with understanding how these plans may provide opportunities or impact on your business, and to prepare and present submissions.