Court Backs Council's Johnsonville Plan

17 July 2013

The Environment Court has ruled in favour of Wellington City Council’s plan for a medium-density residential area zoning for Johnsonville.

This decision, released today, was in response to an appeal by the Johnsonville Community Association (formerly the Johnsonville Progressive Association) which opposed the zoning in its entirety. The Court heard the appeal last month.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed the decision. “It supports Council's view that Wellington has an excellent opportunity for good quality urban regeneration in Johnsonville."

Councillor Iona Pannett, who holds the Council’s Built Environment Portfolio, is also pleased at the Court’s decision – one she calls “significant”.

She says the decision supports the Council's Urban Development Strategy which targets higher density development along a ‘growth spine’ that includes Johnsonville, the central city, Adelaide Road and Newtown, Kilbirnie and to the Airport.

Under District Plan Change 72 – at the centre of the appeal to the Court – the Council has proposed a zone that would allow medium-density residential development close to the Johnsonville town centre.

Cr Pannett says the aim of the zone change is to help cater for population growth while allowing for a range of different housing to meet the needs of Wellington’s increasingly diverse population.  The zoning will also support and intensify the development and expansion of the Johnsonville shopping centre, support efficient use of infrastructure, encourage increased public transport use and support walking and cycling.

She says the Court’s decision recognises some of the concerns of the community association – by requiring some amendments to Plan Change 72. Principally this involves reverting a small area of Middleton Road (5 properties) and land on the eastern side of the motorway (Sheridan Terrace area) back to lower density residential areas.

“It is reassuring that the Court has essentially endorsed the planning approach to central Johnsonville that was approved by Councillors in 2010.” 

The Court has also asked the Council to finalise a specific design guide for the medium density residential area zone, and submit this for the approval of the Court. Cr Pannett says she also hopes these concessions will help to address the concerns of the residents that opposed the Plan Change.

“I want to stress that the Council understands the concerns of the Johnsonville community and that we will work in closely with residents to get good outcomes.”

The zoning change will be supported by $33 million being spent by the Council on roading, an upgrade of the Keith Spry Pool, a new library, and an artificial turf and walking track for Alex Moore Park.  The District Plan provisions and the proposed design guide will lead to higher quality residential development and avoid some of the poor quality residential infill that has occurred over the years.

Background:

  • Wellington will have 30,000 more people by 2031.
  • There will need to be about 800 more dwellings built per annum, resulting in a further 15,000 houses by 2031.
  • One third of the demand for new housing will be for medium density housing.  In Johnsonville this equates to 800-900 new medium density houses over the next 20 years.