Intensification Action Plan aims to assist growth

28/09/2020 9:16am

As more people seek to live in our Smart Little City, a new plan from Nelson City Council aims to help meet the demand for accommodation by supporting housing intensification in existing urban areas.

Nelson’s Intensification Action Plan (IAP) was approved for inclusion in the draft Long Term Plan by Council on Thursday, 22 September.

The IAP was borne out of the Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy (FDS), a 30-year framework for urban growth, adopted by both Nelson City and Tasman District Councils last year.

Mayor Rachel Reese said both documents were key to helping address Nelson’s current housing shortfall, using existing urban areas and greenfield (growth) areas.

“House prices in Nelson and Tasman are some of the highest in the country, and we want to support those who already live here, as well as continue to attract and retain young people in our region. To do that, we need to plan how best to manage our housing needs, both now and into the future, and housing intensification has been identified as one of the ways to meet those needs.”

The FDS anticipates at least 60% of Nelson’s future housing growth will be accommodated by housing intensification in the Nelson Urban Area, which covers Nelson, Richmond and Hope.

The IAP looks at ways Council can encourage housing intensification of existing areas (brownfield) by ensuring processes and plans are streamlined. This is in recognition that intensification developments have a lower uptake than greenfield developments, although both play a role in meeting the city’s future growth needs.

“With brownfield development you’re essentially retrofitting an existing space and that has some real challenges that don’t exist with greenfield, where you’re essentially starting fresh, and that’s why we need this plan,” says Mayor Reese.
Areas for significant housing intensification have been identified in and around Nelson City Centre, South of the city centre, and Stoke over the next three decades.

The table below shows the location and type of intensification proposed in the FDS. In Nelson City Centre, it estimates there is capacity for about 676 additional households, each accommodating 2.4 people per household, or around 1600 residents in total. 

The IAP also identifies the need for increased social amenities, such as recreation areas, for intensified areas, as well as infrastructure improvements.

In addition to the IAP, Council has also approved a recommendation for a fund of $50,000 to be considered as part of the draft Long Term Plan to subsidise regulatory charges faced by developers converting commercial property in the city centre to residential.