The future growth options for Nelson Tasman have more certainty thanks to feedback from the community.

The Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy (FDS) has been developed after consultation with iwi, developers, businesses, residents, government agencies and the wider community. The strategy is designed to ensure that both Nelson and Tasman have land available for necessary housing and business development as our population grows over the next 30 years.

The strategy aims to provide for the maximum amount of growth expected - up to 24,000 extra homes by 2048.

The key questions which contributed to the development of the final strategy included considering whether we continue to expand towns over productive land or develop land of lower productive value with longer travel distances; building near the coast; developing new centres; or intensively building more, smaller homes and apartments in the existing centres.

Feedback from the public was an essential part of this process, says Mayor Rachel Reese.

“Understanding the communities’ views on the sort of development they want, and where, really helped to set the framework for managing our predicted future growth.

“The strategy is an important step in ensuring that we have the infrastructure and other development requirements in the right place at the right time to meet future demand,” says Mayor Reese.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne says development has been occurring at a rapid rate in our region.

“Predominantly development has occurred with expansion of our urban areas, some of which butts directly up against some of the region’s most productive land. Feedback reinforced the need to protect highly productive land wherever possible and look to intensification. Couple that with the need for a climate change action plan to improve the region’s resilience and the need for a 30-year directional plan becomes essential, if not critical.

“How that land is developed is another key decision, with the need to enable housing choice in the region. The strategy provides a range of options.”

Feedback from the community, which was taken into account in the strategy, included that existing urban settlements should be intensified; the use of high-quality rural land should be minimised wherever possible; and only areas near the coast with a climate change adaptation strategy in place should be intensified.

Many opportunities for intensification are identified, but some expansion areas are also highlighted across the region to ensure sufficient capacity is provided overall. Housing choice was also a key consideration.

Both Councils strongly support intensification where it is currently feasible in order to accommodate growth now. There are some areas which are ready to go for intensification - these areas can help support passenger services, bring people close to shops, jobs and activities, and provide opportunities for different housing choices.

Now that the FDS has been adopted by both Councils, although demand and capacity will be reassessed more frequently, work will begin on its implementation. The first step is the development of an Intensification Action Plan over the next six months. This plan will focus on both the regulatory and non-regulatory levers available to Council which include the potential development of Council owned land and development partnerships.

The FDS will be reviewed every three years. Housing and business capacity identified in the strategy will be released progressively over the 30-year period of the FDS, based on on-going monitoring of housing growth and demand.