What's the District Plan and why are we reviewing it?

The District Plan controls what you can do on your land and how it can be developed. It’s essentially a ‘rule book’ which sets district-wide rules for sustainably managing Selwyn’s natural and physical resources.

Under the Resource Management Act, Councils are required to review their District Plan every 10 years to make sure it’s still fit for purpose. Our current District Plan is long and clunky – 1500 pages!

We need a modern Plan which provides clear objectives, policies and rules to manage the effects of land use activities on the environment, but also sets a clear direction for our district’s development and reflects our communities’ needs and expectations.

The review will also update any changes in legislation, national and regional policy statements, environmental standards and other regulations.


How does the District Plan affect me?

We’re working in our community to gather feedback on the current rules and how they work in real life and whether they need to be updated. This information then comes back to the Council’s District Plan Review Committee which considers issues and options for possible changes to our current rules.

Once this information is through the Committee, we tell the community what the preferred option is for any changes to existing District Plan rules. All the information that has been developed so far can be found on the Council website. The new rules are aimed at helping our rural, industrial and commercial areas to thrive while making sure our neighbourhoods remain uniquely Selwyn. The new District Plan rules will help to do this by determining whether any future change of land use or new development can go-ahead, or require a resource consent first.

The review will help us to decide things like:

  • What type of building can be built next to your house
  • The appropriate housing density in your town or in the rural area
  • How much noise a factory can produce
  • How many car parks are required
  • How to protect important parts of our district like heritage items, biodiversity, significant landscapes and our coastal environment
  • How to provide for the productive use of rural land
  • How to minimise the impact of natural hazards like flooding and fire on people and infrastructure.

How does the District Plan Review address the population growth challenge that our district is facing? Will there be any proposed changes to land rezoning ie more rural land rezoned to residential or business?

At this time the Selwyn District Council is not seeking to actively rezone additional land for living or business within the district's townships through the Selwyn District Plan Review. The only exception is in Leeston where the Council will investigate potentially zoning additional industrial land and notify any rezoning proposal through the District Plan Review process.

For the Springs and Selwyn Central Wards, which form part of the Greater Christchurch Area, addressing growth is something that needs to be initially covered by other national and regional processes before additional township growth and zoning is considered.

At the national level, the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity directs local councils to provide enough land which can be developed for business and housing to meet community needs.

At a regional level, the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement has to align with the national policy statement and then set what is and isn’t urban land in the Canterbury region. The current settlement pattern was established after the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2011 and is not scheduled to be comprehensively reviewed until 2022.

So how do these national and regional policies translate to what is being done in our district to address the future growth? In the ‘Greater Christchurch’ part of our district the future growth is being looked at by the Greater Christchurch Partnership through its response to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity. Selwyn District Council is part of this partnership, which together with other local councils, government agencies and iwi, is planning and managing the impacts of growth and development across the Greater Christchurch area. The partnership has just released for public consultation a draft future development strategy Our Space 2018-2048, Greater Christchurch Settlement Pattern Update, which sets actions to address the residential and business capacity needs of the Greater Christchurch portion of the Selwyn district for the next 30 years. Public consultation is open for submissions until 30 November 2018.

The growth for the balance of the district, in the Ellesmere and Malvern Wards, outside the Greater Christchurch area has been determined through our Selwyn 2031 – District Development Strategy, and the Malvern and Ellesmere Area Plans. These planning documents established that there is sufficient land to support business and residential growth through to the year 2031 without Council zoning additional land through the District Plan Review. However, the Area Plans signal implementation steps and processes where additional land supply and location should be considered as well as indicating where future growth would most appropriately locate. As mentioned above, Council has made a decision that at this stage further investigation into the amount and location of new zoned land is not required, other than for Leeston industrial areas. Although Council is not progressing with new land rezonings for the remainder of the Ellesmere and Malvern Wards, landowners within these areas have the opportunity to request a rezoning either by a private plan change now or via a submission on the notified Proposed District Plan in 2020.


How can I have a say?

There are many ways for you to give us your feedback on the key draft changes currently out for initial public consultation. You can do it by:

  • submitting surveys that have been developed for each of the topics.
  • meeting us face-to face at the drop-in sessions in August/September (see exact calendar)
  • emailing districtplanreview@selwyn.govt.nz
  • calling (03) 347 1856.

Also look out for articles in your local paper and on the Council Facebook page.

Anyone can provide their feedback on the draft changes endorsed so far. However, when you give us your feedback we encourage you to also provide any supporting facts, data, examples and documentation to support your feedback.

Make sure you think about what you value, the things that you want to protect and how we can improve our district going forward. Also note that current public consultation is just the first check on whether we’re on the right track with the review so far. There will be a formal public consultation on the whole proposed plan once it's publicly notified. This is expected to happen in early 2020. Check out the Selwyn District Plan Review roadmap.




What happens after the initial public consultation closes?

Feedback from this consultation will help inform all the proposed rules which will be included in the Proposed District Plan. It’s expected that the Proposed District Plan will be notified in early 2020 for formal public consultation and be fully in place, subject to any Environment Court appeals, in March 2022. See our District Plan Review roadmap.