The prediction that Marlborough will not have enough land zoned for housing within 30 years has prompted a refresh of the region’s growth strategy.
The Council’s Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment (HBA) 2021 was shared with the Planning, Finance and Community Committee last Thursday. The report outlined several findings and recommendations, including the need to refresh the 2013 Growing Marlborough strategy.
With Marlborough’s population projected to reach 61,000 by 2048, a shortfall in the longer term has been predicted for urban development in the region.
Under the National Policy Statement for Urban Development (NPS-UD) released in 2020, councils are required to provide enough land for urban development.
Chief Executive Mark Wheeler said the Council first completed an HBA in 2018. “This identified a potential shortfall of land available for residential development in the next 30 years,” he said. “In the short term, the next 10 years or so, we are looking pretty good but the longer-term shortfall is of concern,” he said.
“There has been increased pressure on the housing market and faster than anticipated population growth in Blenheim since the previous assessment was completed.”
According to Statistics New Zealand’s high growth population projections (based on 2018 Census data), the growth in Marlborough over the next 25 years will result in an additional 9,490 people on the 2021 population estimate of 51,510.
Nearly 80 per cent of this growth is projected to occur within 10km of central Blenheim.
“The HBA identifies a shortfall of land for residential development in the long term of approximately 900 dwellings,” said Mr Wheeler.
“There are also potentially constraints to developing already zoned land soon enough to meet anticipated demand over the next five years. Landowners with land currently zoned residential hold the key to unlocking this,” he said.
“To alleviate this, there may be opportunities in the short term to rezone land on the periphery of Blenheim. Several developers are actively planning to approach Council with rezoning requests which they believe could assist with this short term challenge.
The Growing Marlborough refresh will enable us to take a closer look at this while looking at the longer term needs of the region.”
“Growing Marlborough was completed in 2013 and it’s timely now to review things now we are almost 10 years on,” said Mr Wheeler.
The HBA assessment focuses largely on residential activity, however a brief update on demand for business land is also included.
“Assessing demand for business land continues to be a challenge. The HBA recommends that the Council also includes an assessment of business land needs in its refresh of the Growth Strategy,” said Mr Wheeler.
“We will do this in consultation with the business community to ensure that the provision of land for business activity is sufficient and appropriate to provide for growth over the long term,” he said.
The committee recommendations are subject to approval by the full Council this Thursday.