What is the Waitārere Beach Master Plan?
The Waitārere Beach Master Plan guides housing developments in the growth areas at Waitārere Beach.
The Master Plan covers:
- design principles
- where roads and shared pathways should go, and which ones are the most important
- how many parks are needed and where they should go
- the size of future properties.
Why is it important?
The Master Plan will ensure new housing developments are properly planned and integrated into the existing community. Without a master plan, development can end up as a series of small subdivisions that lack important connections to each other or to existing infrastructure.
The Master Plan also recognises key features of the existing community and ensures new housing developments are a good fit with the character of the existing area.
Why is more housing needed?
Horowhenua is growing fast. We are the fastest growing district in Manawatū/Whanganui. At the current rate, our population could increase by over 33% in the next 10 to 15 years. If that happens, Horowhenua will need 440 more houses every year to keep up with demand.
Although our whole district is growing, some areas are growing faster than others. The 2018 Census data has not yet been released for Waitārere Beach, but it has been released for the wider Waitārere area. This data shows this area is experiencing high population growth alongside Foxton Beach, Ōhau – Manakau and Miranui.
This population growth increases demand for housing. Average house values in Horowhenua increased by nearly 20% in the year to September 2019. This was the fourth- fastest growth among district/city councils in New Zealand. House prices in Horowhenua reached a record high of $362,518 in 2019, up from $270,520 in 2017.
As of June 2019, the median house price was 7.4 times median household income, which puts Horowhenua housing into the ‘severely unaffordable’ category.
When will the new houses be constructed?
Development won’t happen overnight, but Waitārere Beach is predicted to need at least 300 more houses over the next 20+ years (Horowhenua Growth Strategy, 2018). This is about 15 houses per year.
The draft Master Plan focuses on the long term future, for the next 20+ years. Long term planning ensures that future development is well integrated with the existing settlement.
There are lots of factors which will influence how many houses are built, such as the number of sections available, land affordability, expressway connections to Wellington, and the capacity of local builders.
It is up to individual property owners to decide when they develop their properties. However, in the next five to ten years the community should expect to see continued housing development west of Forest Road and on the two corners of Waitārere Beach Road with Waitārere Rise. Further into the future, development will head further from the main settlement towards ‘The Lakes’ and could include land to the east of Forest Road.
How does the draft Master Plan recognise the existing character of Waitārere Beach?
The community has told us that the character of Waitārere Beach is important. To keep a consistent character with the existing settlement, the following design features have been included:
- most sections being a similar size
- streets that connect with each other
- designs that work with dune landscapes.
To check we understand what people want the growth areas of Waitārere Beach to look like, the we are seeking feedback on different options for future developments by showing the community different pictures and asking them which they prefer.
Has Council considered impacts on services such as health care, schooling and roading?
We have relationships with key central Government agencies, such as the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), Mid Central District Health Board (DHB) and Ministry of Education. We are working with them to plan for growth across the district.
Will the community need more land for shops/food businesses?
Waitārere Beach has a number of local businesses, such as a café, restaurant, Four Square, fish and chip shop, and liquor store. These sorts of businesses need to be on land zoned for commercial use. There is already some commercial land at Waitārere Beach, and we are investigating whether there is enough to meet future demand. If not, we may need to zone more land for commercial use.
What about infrastructure?
Creating a Master Plan provides a guide on where and when future growth will happen at Waitārere Beach. Having a Master Plan means we can plan more effectively for future infrastructure, such as roads and wastewater networks.
We are doing a feasibility study of the costs and potential water sources for a reticulated water supply. We consulted the community about this when we prepared our 2018-38 Long Term Plan, and based on the feedback Council decided to go ahead with the study. There will be an opportunity for the community to have their say before any changes are made.
What about Climate Change?
The beach at Waitārere is accreting (growing towards the sea). This means the impacts from climate change will not be the same as other beaches. The growth areas included in the Master Plan are inland and unlikely to be affected by issues such as coastal erosion.
Why does the draft Master Plan show Forest Road being extended?
The draft Master Plan assumes that in the future Forest Road will extend to the edge of the South Forest to improve access to the growth areas on both sides of the existing forestry track. This land is currently Crown-owned, with a forestry license, and is subject to Treaty of Waitangi claims. In the future, relevant parties will need to determine whether extending the road is appropriate.
What is the difference between the draft Master Plan and draft Community Plan?
The development of the Master Plan is occurring alongside the preparation of the Waitārere Community Plan. Both will be instrumental in the community’s development and successful growth.
The Master Plan focuses on future residential growth – the location of growth, roading connections, shared pathways and parks.
The Community Plan seeks to understand the future aspirations of the community which are much wider than where growth will go. The Community Plan sets out a community vision, values, priorities and actions which can focus on all issues important to the community.