19 July 2024

City will ‘irrevocably change’ under new housing rules, says Southgate

Hamilton Mayor, Paula Southgate has warned that sweeping changes to house planning rules announced by the Government today have the potential to ‘irrevocably’ and fundamentally change the face of Hamilton.

The changes, unveiled unexpectedly today, aim to allow more homes to be built faster. Both the Government and the National Party support today’s announcement as a way of addressing New Zealand’s dire housing crisis.

City will irrevocably change
New housing policy will change the face of Hamilton (photo/supplied)

Under the new rules, to come into effect by August 2022, people will be able to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on most city sites without needing a resource consent. On most residential-zoned sites, Hamilton’s District Plan usually only allows for a house and ancillary flat with a maximum height of 10 metres.

The changes impact five Tier 1 cities – Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch. Each of those cities is facing massive growth and each already has severe housing shortages which in turn impacts on rents.

“There is no question that allowing three-storeys to be built in existing residential neighbourhoods, without resource consents, will impact big parts of Hamilton,” Mayor Southgate said.

“They will enable quite radical changes to height, plus how close and how high you can build to the front and side boundaries of sections. They are significant and they will change the look and feel of some of our neighbourhoods.

“I know some people will be concerned and I certainly understand that. So, we need to make sure whatever is built is sympathetic and makes for a better community,” she said.

Hamilton City council would be looking for funding support to back up today’s Government announcement, she said.

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