Under scrutiny . . . Land settlement and a town centre public spaces policy are being examined by the Waimakariri District Council. File photo

By David Hill

Land settlement patterns, developing a town centre public spaces policy and the disposal of council-owned property at Rangiora’s Red Lion Corner were discussed at this week’s Waimakariri District Council meeting.

The council has ratified a “Future Development Strategy” scoping paper which focuses on land settlement patterns as part of a Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS) review which will go out for public consultation later this year.

Development planning manager Trevor Ellis says the strategy is “an important step” as the three partner councils, Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri, look to meet their requirements under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Strategy.

“There has been a lot of consultation to date from a planning perspective and this piece of work is a more detailed step on the District Development Strategy, which the council developed last year.”

Several councillors expressed concerns about different regulations being development between the Greater Christchurch area, which is roughly east of Two Chain Road and south of the Ashley River, and the rest of the district.

Mayor David Ayers says he advises against extending the UDS boundary due to the “constraints” it places on development.

A draft town centres public spaces policy has been approved for public consultation.

Senior policy analyst Mike O’Connell says the policy will apply to “business zone 1 and 2” areas in each of the five town centres, Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Oxford, Woodend and Pegasus.

“It’s about making public spaces safe and promoting accessibility and health.”

He says the policy will provide clarity for requirements around outdoor dining, signage, designated smoking areas, lighting and commercial charities soliciting donations.

Councillors requested the use of scooters and skateboards on footpaths, window washing, window engraving and “begging” be considered.

Council-owned land at 44 High Street and part of the 8 Ashley Street section is to be designated as reserve land, with the balance of the Ashley Street property to be sold.

The land was acquired by the council in 2014 to facilitate the realignment of Red Lion Corner.

Property assets advisor Raymond Qu says under the Public Works Act (1981) the council is required to dispose of land which has been acquired for public works, but is no longer required.

He says designating it as reserve land allows the council to retain the land and the status can be easily changed if the council requires it for roading or other purposes in the future.

The remaining Ashley Street property being put up for sale comprises carparks.

Under the legislation, the previous owner, overseas investor Capitola Investment Ltd, will have first right of refusal. Council staff will also be meeting with neighbouring property shoesBoots