The Land Use Recovery Plan ("LURP") emerged from the
need to open up more opportunities for housing and business
following the Canterbury earthquakes. The LURP, which took effect
on 6 December 2013, provides the framework for residential and
business land use development within the metropolitan urban area of
Christchurch and greater Christchurch until 2028.
The LURP directed the Christchurch City Council, Waimakariri and
Selwyn District Councils and Canterbury Regional Council to make
changes to district plans, the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement
and other planning instruments through a series of 50 actions
detailed in the LURP.
Some of these changes required by the LURP have taken immediate
effect through direct amendments to objectives, policies and
methods in the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement, and rules in
the Christchurch City Council's District Plan, the Waimakariri
District Plan, and Selwyn District Plan.
Other changes directed by the LURP to district plans and other
policy instruments will be made over time by the relevant
Not surprisingly residential development is a key focus of the
LURP. Amendments to district plans which have immediate effect
allow for residential intensification in existing areas. For
example the Christchurch Council District Plan has been amended to
allow for development of residential units on sites made vacant by
The LURP has also introduced mechanisms (which are immediately
available) to facilitate residential development, including the
"enhanced development mechanism" for sites over 1,500m2.
The purpose of the enhanced development mechanism is to enable
higher density development, such as town houses or terrace houses,
within existing residential areas. Specific criteria, detailed in
the Christchurch City District Plan, must be satisfied for a site
to qualify to use this particular mechanism. Other immediately
available initiatives include opportunities for
"exemplar" medium density housing developments, whereby
developers work with Councils to effectively provide models for
future development in the form of affordable medium density
The LURP also identified 'greenfield priority areas' for
new residential subdivision and directed amendments to District
Plans to immediately rezone identified areas, including in
Prebbleton, Rolleston, Lincoln and Rangiora.
Additionally, the LURP provides for business recovery, including
by identifying "Key Activity Centres" (including
Rolleston & Lincoln in the Selwyn District, Haswell &
Hornby in Christchurch, and Rangiora & Kaiapoi in Waimakariri)
as focal points for commercial and service activities supporting
communities. These Key Activity Centres are intended to consolidate
and integrate the growth of business, retail, recreation and
community activities. Further to this, the Councils are required to
amend their District Plans to provide for zoning that defines the
extent of each Key Activity Centre.
The LURP also provides opportunities for the use of vacant
"brownfield" sites (abandoned or underused business or
industrial land) for residential, mixed-use or business
development. This opportunity will be given effect through changes
to District Plans.
Other ways in which the LURP provides for business recovery, is
by identifying "greenfield priority areas" in
Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri, with the necessary changes in
zoning being affected through changes made to the relevant District
The LURP therefore provides immediate opportunities for
development to occur. In addition, the LURP directs the Councils to
make changes to planning instruments to provide for future
development for both residential and business purposes. This
process for amending District Plans is currently underway. Unlike
the measures which have taken immediate effect under the LURP,
there will be further opportunity for public consultation in
relation to some of these District Plan changes. We are seeing this
already with the Christchurch City Council's District Plan
Review, where the public has had the opportunity to provide
'feedback' on proposed changes (prior to a formal
notification period later this year).
Importantly the LURP provides immediate opportunities for
developers through novel mechanisms and initiatives. In addition,
with the Councils being required to develop the details of some
LURP measures through plan change processes, then there will be
continued opportunities for public consultation and
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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