What's a district plan?

    A district plan impacts on almost everything you do across our district, and how you do it. It’s essentially a 10-year ‘rule book’ which makes clear what activities you can do as of right (permitted activities) and what activities you or your neighbour will need a resource consent for.

    In addition to regulating what you can or cannot do on a property, the district plan also controls any adverse effects your activity could have on the neighbours and vice versa. For example, how much noise you can make or how close to a boundary you can build your house.

    The district plan also protects the uniqueness of our district, for example by looking after our cultural and historic heritage, and natural
    environment and biodiversity.

    Why is the current District Plan being reviewed?

    The current District Plan was notified in two volumes in 2000 and 2001, with the majority of provisions being made operative in 2008. Since then our district has changed a lot and our current plan is out of date.

    We are also required by the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to review our District Plan every 10 years. In particular, we need to check if it is up to date with all the national policies and regulations that have come into force since the last District Plan was prepared.

    The current District Plan has been under review for a number of years. We have now reached the stage where the Proposed District Plan has been notified for formal public consultation.

    What is the Proposed District Plan notification?

    The release of the Proposed District Plan is a formal process guided by the RMA. It involves formal public notification, a submissions and further submissions process, a public hearing process, the release of decisions, and appeal rights to the Environment Court. This process is expected to take at least two years, ie until end of 2022.

    We are now calling for submissions on the Proposed Plan so we can take your views into account. Submissions close at 5pm on Friday 11 December 2020.

    How is a district plan different from a long-term plan?

    While the district plan is the rule book, the long-term plan on the other hand is the Council’s budget plan and work programme for the district over a 10-year period.

Why should I care about the Proposed District Plan?

    How is the District Plan relevant to me?

    Despite their importance, most people know little about district plans. So why should you care about a district plan? Simply, because it impacts on almost everything you do across our district, and how you do it.

    Some of the most common ways the district plan can affect you are:·

    • what and where you can build on your property
    • what kind of business can operate next door to you
    • whether you or your neighbour can subdivide land and for what purpose
    • how our indigenous biodiversity and cultural and historical heritage are managed and protected
    • whether you can run a business from home
    • how much noise you or your neighbour can make
    • whether your property is at risk from future natural hazards.

    What information will be put on LIMs as a result of the Proposed District Plan?

    There will be a generic note on all new Land Information Memoranda (LIM) reports to advise that the Proposed Plan has been notified and that some rules have immediate legal effect. Where a property is subject to a rule that does have immediate legal effect, then there will be a
    specific notation advising of this.

    During the review of the current District Plan the Council undertook a number of technical investigations to help inform the new District Plan. As a result of some of these investigations, a new LIM report for a property may also have another new note. For example, in relation to natural hazards, if a property is identified as being in an area at risk of certain natural hazards, the LIM report will make reference to that. This is in response to a legal requirement that councils have to include in a LIM all relevant information they hold about a property in relation to natural hazards.

    Will my rates change because of the Proposed District Plan?

    Any changes to current rates and Development Contributions as a result of proposed changes to the current District Plan will be considered by the Council through future annual and long-term plans.

    How do I know which rules apply to me?

    To find out how the Proposed District Plan affects you and which proposed rules may apply to you, go to the Proposed ePlan. If you can’t access it from home, you can view the online plan at Council libraries and service centres. Make sure you open the Proposed ePlan in Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox browser. It doesn’t work in Internet Explorer. (Don't have Chrome? Just click here to download. Once you’ve installed it, make sure you copy and paste into the Chrome browser window as clicking the link will still take you to Internet Explorer if it’s been set up as your default internet browser. To find out how to change your default browser go here.)

    In the Proposed ePlan search for the property by typing the address into the search bar. For more detail on the property search results and how to find your way around the digital Proposed Plan, check out the How to navigate the Proposed Selwyn ePlan guide.

    You can also contact the Council by emailing or calling 0800 SELWYN (735 996). Alternatively, you can attend one of the organised ‘Talk to a planner’ drop-in sessions around the district.

More detail about the Proposed District Plan

    How is the Proposed District Plan different from the current one?

    The Proposed District Plan is supported by a large amount of research and technical evidence which has been developed during the review of the current District Plan. It has also been informed by engagement with mana whenua, Environment Canterbury, key stakeholders and the wider Selwyn community.

    Key differences between the Operative and Proposed District Plans are:

    • The Operative Plan is an effects-based plan, while the Proposed Plan is considered an activities-based plan. The latter gives plan users more certainty around what can and cannot be done on a site
    • Instead of two volumes like the current District Plan (Rural and Township), the Proposed Plan is contained in one volume
    • The Proposed Plan includes strategic objectives to provide an overarching tone and direction for any new activities in the district
    • The Proposed Plan simplifies the rules by providing separate, tailor-made rules for individual district-wide matters and zones
    • The Proposed Plan simplifies the rule structure by using colour coding to indicate status, ie does an activity require a consent, and uses a format that allows for a logical flow through different activity types.

    Are there any rules in the Proposed Plan that apply now?

    Most of the rules in the Proposed Plan will not come into effect until after the Council has released decisions on submissions. It’s expected that the new District Plan will be operative/in full effect in two years’ time from the time, ie the end of 2022, subject to any Environment Court appeals. Until then, current rules in the operative District Plan apply.

    However, some proposed rules do apply as soon as the Proposed Plan is notified. These are rules addressing aspects like listed historic items and their settings, notable trees, Sites and Areas of Significance to Māori, and ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity (see table below for more detail). In these cases, resource consent may be required under either or both the operative and proposed district plans.

    Chapter in Proposed ePlan 


    Historic Heritage

    All rules (R1-R8)

    Schedule 2

    Notable Trees

    All rules (R1-R7)

    REQ1 and REQ2

    Schedule 2

    Sites and Areas of Significance to Maori

    All rules (R1-R6)

    All schedules (SCHED 1-5)

    Ecosystems and Indigenous Biodiversity

    R1.6 SNA

    R1.16 Mudfish

    R1.18 Mudfish

    R1.20 Crested Grebe

    R2 SNA

    R4 SNA

    Schedule 4

    Natural Character

    R1 earthworks

    REQ1 earthworks


    R18 Historic Heritage

    R19 Notable Trees

    R20 SASM

    R21 EIB

    Activities on the Surface of Water


    To alert ePlan users to which chapters or particular rules in the notified Proposed Plan have immediate legal effect, a note at the beginning of the chapter (like the one below) and an orange gavel symbol next to the relevant provision have been added.

    What technical information has been gathered to inform the Proposed District Plan?

    District plans require a large amount of evidence and technical information to support their direction and provisions. Technical reports and other relevant documents which have been developed during the review of the current Selwyn District Plan can be found on our supporting information webpage.

    What impact does the RMA reform have on the Proposed District Plan?

    The Government-commissioned report released in July this year recommended that the Resource Management Act 1991 be repealed and replaced. The report also recommended that plans currently prepared by regional councils and territorial authorities in each region, including district plans, be combined from over 100 to just 14 plans.

    While the Government report considers that new legislation could be enacted by 2022, it is noted that the transition to the new legislation could take up to ten years. As such, it is considered that the new Selwyn District Plan will be well placed to provide a sound platform for any subsequent integration into a combined regional plan, should this be enacted by the new Government.

    In addition, it will provide a more streamlined and up-to-date approach to achieving the community’s desired environmental, economic, social and cultural outcomes during any transitional period.

Have your say

    How can I make a submission?

    It’s important you have your say. Before you decide to make a submission, you need to understand what the Proposed Plan involves and how it might affect you.

    Anyone can make a submission on the Proposed Selwyn District Plan by using one of the following options:

    • Complete an online submission form
    • Download a PDF submission form. Please note that the PDF version is not editable on your personal device. It has been provided for those who wish to print it off and make a handwritten submission. Once you complete the form you can:
      • email it to (Subject line: Proposed Selwyn District Plan Submission)
      • post it to Selwyn District Council, Freepost 104 653, PO Box 90, Rolleston 7643, Attention: Proposed Selwyn District Plan Submission
      • deliver it to a Council service centre in Darfield, Lincoln, Leeston or Rolleston.
    • Pick up a hard copy submission form at Council libraries and service centres.

    Written submissions must be submitted on the Council submission form, or on Form 5 of the Resource Management Act 1991. Your submission must state whether you want to present your views at a Council hearing.

    For more information check out How to make a submission on the publicly notified Proposed Selwyn District Plan. You can also find more information about making a submission on a proposed district plan on the Ministry for the Environment website.

    Why have you extended the consultation period by one week to 11 December?

    It’s important that people in Selwyn know about the Proposed Plan and that they might be affected by it. Due to an issue with the database used for the initial mailout of the notification letters to landowners in Selwyn district, some letters were sent to incorrect addresses. As a result, we have decided to resend letters this week to all landowners. To ensure people have enough time to find out how they might be affected and to make their submission, we have extended our consultation period by one week, and have organised more public drop-in sessions.

    What happens after I have made a submission?

    You will receive an automatic email reply acknowledging your submission and providing you with a copy of the submission. Once the submission period closes:

    • We will prepare a summary of decisions requested by submitters, then publicly notify the availability of this summary and where the summary and full submissions can be inspected
    • People who represent a relevant aspect of the public interest or have an interest greater than the interest of the general public may make a further submission, in the prescribed form, within 10 working days of notification of the summary of decisions sought, supporting or opposing submissions already made
    • A copy of the further submission must be sent to the Council and the person who made the original submission
    • If requested by any submitter, we will hold a public hearing on the submissions received
    • Following the hearing we will give notice of our decision on the Proposed District Plan (and matters raised in submissions, including our reasons for accepting or rejecting submissions)
    • Every submitter then has the right to appeal the decision on the Proposed District Plan to the Environment Court.

Still have questions?

Troubleshooting ePlan

    The ePlan isn’t loading

    If you experience problems loading the ePlan, make sure you open the ePlan in Google Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox browser. Note that the ePlan doesn’t work in Internet Explorer. Just click here to download Chrome browser. Once you’ve installed Chrome, make sure you copy and paste into the Chrome browser window as clicking the link will still take you to Internet Explorer if it’s been set up as your default internet browser. To find out how to change your default browser go here.

    The planning map’s search function isn’t working

    The planning map in the Proposed ePlan has many layers which may take some time to download, especially where internet connection might not be strong. If you have issues with the search function we suggest you make a couple of attempts to search for a property but if it
    is still not successful contact the Council.

    Getting an ‘unknown address’ property search result

    When you zoom in on a property on the planning map, you might get an ‘unknown address’ search result. To avoid this, we suggest you search for a property by typing the address in the search bar.