About-turn on housing policy

Photo: File.

Leaving developers to inform council policy on housing outcomes for Tauranga has been slammed in a housing report presented to councillors.

The Tauranga City Council’s traditional hands-off approach has failed and the market has not delivered housing outcomes, says the report by community services general manager Philip King.

It says TCC focuses on delivering supporting infrastructure, rather than a comprehensive investment across the four well-beings required to support a sustainable development approach for current and future generations.

Instead of re-developing or intensifying housing within the existing city boundaries, developers favoured greenfield development on the city periphery. And they preferred to build three to five-bedroom stand-alone houses.

The resulting one-dimensional housing market has done little to support community well-being and has resulted in gaps across many parts of the housing spectrum, says Philip.

The report says it is expensive for ratepayers because development contributions don’t cover the full costs of planning and servicing growth, providing new social infrastructure facilities, or upgrading existing assets and facilities across the city.

“Further evidence from a number of initiatives during 2017 has added data and depth to this understanding,” says Philip. “Further work recently undertaken to assess development viability of a range of residential housing typologies will be presented to the City Transformation Committee shortly.”

Councillors have agreed to develop a new integrated Housing Strategy to support the Tauranga Urban Strategy and open conversations about current and future housing needs to enable better outcomes across the existing urban area and greenfield structure plans.

They will also be reviewing the planning framework, including the City Plan from 2022 and Structure Plans as they are developed, to provide a comprehensive, integrated range of incentives and collaboration that delivers a wide mix of housing types across a broader price range.