Plans for further housing intensification in the region are a ‘win-win’, according to one councillor.
Councillor Kit Maling, chair of the Strategy and Policy Committee, says that the TDC’s newly-adopted Intensification Action Plan, which will allow for more townhouses to be built closer together in certain areas in Richmond, Brightwater, and Wakefield, is good news for the region.
A plan change three years ago allowed housing intensification in Richmond, and Kit says the new plan will enable those changes to happen in Motueka, Wakefield, and Brightwater in the future.
The action plan considers ways that the council can incentivise the building of smaller, denser dwellings.
“Around Richmond you are seeing a lot of bigger old sections, where there is a lot of grass, we are now getting townhouses, like on Croucher Street. It makes a better use of our space,” he says.
Kit says that there is a tension that the council has to deal with when it comes to housing and urban sprawl.
“We have to provide affordable housing, but we also have to protect productive land. Those two oppose in some ways,” he says.
“Re-engineering within our existing areas makes sense. We have to protect our good land, so if you can develop townhouses in smaller areas, that’s a win-win.”
According to the newly-released Intensification Action Plan, the Tasman District Council is enabling medium density, not high density that is found in cities like Auckland or Wellington.
Around 40 per cent of future demand for housing across Nelson and Tasman will be met by building up and increasing housing density in existing areas rather than building out, the action plan states.
Across the Tasman District, residents over 65 will form 34 per cent of the population by 2043.
A council survey taken last year revealed that 40 per cent of residents aged over 65 would prefer a small house, unit, or townhouse in town.
Kit says the adoption of the Intensification Action Plan is a step in the right direction.
“You can’t change the rules overnight,” he says.
Kit also says that housing density can help to fix the region’s transport problem.
“If we are more compact, people can walk to where they want to go, or cycle, so there’s less carbon and it keeps our inner towns safe.”