Draft Spatial Plan
Our City Tomorrow:
A Draft Spatial Plan for Wellington City
We recently sought feedback on how well Our City Tomorrow: A Draft Spatial Plan for Wellington City meets the goals of ensuring a compact, resilient, vibrant and prosperous, inclusive and connected, and greener Wellington city.
Submissions are now closed. Organisations and residents who made submissions will have another opportunity to provide feedback via oral submissions in November. We’ll be in touch shortly with information on how to register
What is a Spatial Plan?
A spatial plan is essentially a ‘blueprint’ for our city that sets out a plan of action for where and how we should grow and develop over the next 30 years.
The spatial plan will help shape our city by considering a range of topics relating to the City’s growth including land use, transport, three waters infrastructure, natural hazards, heritage, and natural environment values
The spatial plan puts a plan in place for how we will grow, providing the key policy direction needed to influence the review of the District Plan.
It will also help the Council prioritise investment for things like transport, new community facilities and infrastructure upgrades.
The city is already experiencing high house prices and high rents, and we know under current planning rules we won’t have enough houses to provide for population growth over the next 30 years.
The city also has a goal of being carbon zero by 2050. We need to have a plan to ensure that where and how we live, and how we move around our city supports us reaching that goal.
In 2019 we asked people to have their say on the pros and cons of four potential growth scenarios. The resulting feedback gave a clear indication that Wellingtonians think intensification of the city centre and suburban-centres offer the best balance overall.
Taking this feedback, we have now developed Our City Tomorrow - A Draft Spatial Plan for Wellington City which shows the future shape of our city that will feed into the District Plan Review.
The National Policy Statement for Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) sets out the objectives and policies for planning for well-functioning urban environments under the Resource Management Act 1991. It replaces the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity 2016 (NPS-UDC) and takes effect on 20 August 2020.
The Council has statutory obligations under the new National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) in relation to how the District Plan provides for future development.
This national policy statement requires Councils to:
- provide sufficient development capacity in the District Plan to meet projected growth requirements in their area over the short- (3 years), medium- (10 years), and long-term (30 years),
- prepare a Future Development Strategy (FDS) (i.e. a spatial plan) that shows how and where they will provide for future development and;
- comply with particular policy directions that relate to ‘well-functioning urban environments’, intensification and density, amenity, car parking, and supporting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to help combat climate change.
The direction of the Draft Spatial Plan is consistent with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) 2020. However, there are some aspects of the new policy which will require the Council to enable a greater level of density than had previously been signalled.
- Allowing building heights of at least 6 storeys within at least a walkable catchments of the city centre and metropolitan centres as well as existing and planned rapid transit stops.
- Removing minimum car parking requirements (other than accessible car parks).
- Ensuring urban environments support a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and are resilient
One of the policies in the NPS-UD is to allow building heights of at least 6 storeys within at least a walkable catchment of the city centre and metropolitan centres as well as existing and planned rapid transit stops.
The NPS-UD has not provided guidance on their definition of a walkable catchment so we approached our analysis using 5 minute and 10 minute walking distances. These catchments were generated using a network analysis model. This model used a network of paths and tracks in Wellington City and an average walking speed of 5km/h. Where the slope/gradient of the path or trackway was not flat, the average walking speed was adjusted.
To generate walkable catchments we calculated 5 minute and 10 minute walking distances accessible from railway stations, the metropolitan centres of Johnsonville and Kilbirnie, and the Central City. We then reviewed the minimum building heights for these areas and adjusted them accordingly.
The NPS-UD requires Council to enable as much capacity as possible in the central city and building heights of at least 6 storeys within at least a walkable distance from the edge of the city centre zone (Central Area). To align with these requirements, the Draft Spatial Plan includes the following:
- A minimum building height of 6 storeys.
- An increase to the maximum building height from 6 storeys to at least 10 storeys in Te Aro.
Inner suburbs and character areas
The proposed approach to pre-1930 character protection in the inner suburbs meets the criteria of a ‘qualifying matter’ under the NPS-UD. A ‘qualifying matter’ applies where the Council considers there are particular characteristics of a site or group of sites that make the requirement of enabling development of at least 6 storeys inappropriate. There are specific criteria that apply in order for the Council to be able to use the ‘qualifying matter’ clause of the NPS-UD, including the requirement for a site-specific analysis. The Council completed a site-by-site assessment (including field work) of all sites within the pre-1930s character areas in 2019 . Without this, a significant amount of the inner suburbs would be captured by the broad requirement to enable building heights of at least 6 storeys within a walkable catchment of the central city.
The Draft Spatial Plan proposes retaining some protection in areas with high character values ensuring that the City keeps these important areas while allowing for some new development to occur at an appropriate scale for the area.
The requirement to enable building heights of at least 6 storeys within at least a walkable catchment of rapid transit stops means a larger degree of intensification in the following areas: Tawa, Linden, Johnsonville, Khandallah, Ngaio and Crofton Downs. Further work is being undertaken around Kenepuru Station. The Draft Spatial Plan includes the following:
- At least 6 storey buildings within a 10 minute walking catchment of the Johnsonville railway station and the edge of the centre,
- At least 6 storey buildings within a 10 minute walking catchment of the Tawa railway station; and
- At least 6 storey buildings within a 5 minute walking catchment of all other railway stations.
The Council used a 10 minute walking catchment from the Johnsonville railway station and centre, and from the Tawa railway station because the wide range amenities such as public facilities, commercial and retail activities and services nearby have more potential to support growth and help facilitate a well-functioning urban environment. For other stations on the Johnsonville and Tawa railway lines, 5 minute walking catchments have been used reflecting the comparatively smaller range of amenities. The application of these walking catchment ranges is open to community feedback.
Kilbirnie and Lyall Bay
In Kilbirnie and Lyall Bay, there are a number of hazard issues relating to sea level rise, flooding, ground shaking, liquefaction and tsunami. The Council considers these hazards to be relevant ‘qualifying matters’ under the NPS-UD. This may mean the 6-storey minimum building height required by the NPS-UD (because it is a metropolitan centre) is not appropriate across these areas . The Council needs to do further work to fully understand the implications of these hazards on the level of risk for development in these areas beyond what is already proposed. This will inform future decisions about what level of intensification is appropriate.
On-site car parking requirements across the city
The NPS-UD prevents local authorities from imposing minimum on-site car parking requirements for new developments, regardless of their location. Local authorities have 18 months to remove these rules from their existing District Plans.
The Council must give effect to these requirements as part of the upcoming District Plan Review process and these changes are outside of the scope for feedback on the Draft Spatial Plan. Additionally, these rules will not come into effect until the new District Plan is made operative (with the exception of the car parking requirements).
As we adjust back to a new normal following COVID-19, planning for the city’s future growth and redevelopment remains relevant and is important to ensure we can adapt and thrive as a city.
In the short term (3-5 years) we anticipate a slower rate of growth than originally forecast, however the medium to long term outlook remains positive and our existing growth projections remain relevant.
Now more than ever we need to take this opportunity to learn from our local experience of this global event, and put it into a plan of action. Our City Tomorrow is the first step at how we can accomplish this and will enable opportunities to plan for the city’s future investment.
Some errors have been pointed our to us by members of the public. While we endeavour to test and review everything we release, sometimes things will slip through the cracks unintentionally.
We have made the following corrections to Our City Tomorrow: A Draft Spatial Plan for Wellington City since going live:
|Area||Change made||Reason for change|
|Area of Oriental Bay subject to variable height control in the District Plan||Housing density typology was changed from type 4 (at least 6 storeys) and type 5 (up to 8 storeys) to "No change to existing District Plan heights."||The original classification was a mapping error, we never intended to suggest the heights would be changing.|
|Johnsonville centre east of Johnsonville Road||Housing density typology was changed from type 4 (at least 6 storeys) to type 5 (up to 8 storeys).||The original classification was a mapping error, we never intended to classify the housing density as type 4 (at least 6 storeys).|
|Hanson Street, near Hall Street||Housing density typology was changed from type 1 (1-2 storeys) to type 3 (3-4 storeys).||The original classification was a mapping error, we never intended to classify the housing density as type 1 (1-2 storeys).|
|Aro Valley centre||Housing density typology was changed from type 4 (at least 6 storeys) to type 3 (3-4 storeys).||The original classification was a mapping error, we never intended to classify the housing density as type 4 (at least 6 storeys).|
|Area of Adelaide Road centre within heritage area||Housing density typology was changed from type 1 (1-2 storeys) to type 4 (at least 6 storeys).||The original classification was a mapping error, we never intended to classify the housing density as type 1 (1-2 storeys).|
|Areas subject to National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 intensification policy.||Proposed housing types changed from:Type 4: Mixed use and apartment buildings - 6 storeys to Type 4b Mixed use and apartment buildings at least 6 storeys enabled.||The change clarifies the direction of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development as it applies to areas required to have at least 6 storey development enabled. A variation of building typology 4 continues to be applied as it closely represents possible development outcomes.|
|Outer suburb Centres and Berhampore residential areas not subject to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development 2020 (NPS-UD) intensification policy, and parts of Mount Victoria(bound by Paterson and Ellice Streets, Pirie and Ellice Streets, and Roxburgh Street and Oriental Parade) within general character overlay where character sub-areas are a qualifying matter under the NPS-UD.||Proposed housing types changed from:Type 4: Mixed use and apartment buildings - 6 storeys to Type 4a Mixed use and apartment buildings up to 6 storey.||This change clarifies that up to 6 storey development is proposed in these areas. A variation of building typology 4 continues to be applied as it represents possible development outcomes.|
This document shows the estimated population and dwelling figures across the city and broken down by suburb. These figures include a high-level consideration of development feasibility, however further investigations on the practicality and viability of development are still required and will be undertaken. It is anticipated that post-feasibility figures will be lower than those shown in the tables.
View the Draft Spatial Plan
- Wellington City
- Central City
- Central City - with roads
- Inner City
- Inner City - with roads
- Northern outer suburbs
- Northern outer suburbs - with roads
- Western outer suburbs
- Western outer suburbs - with roads
- Southern outer suburbs
- Southern outer suburbs - with roads
- Eastern outer suburbs
- Eastern outer suburbs - with roads
Our City Tomorrow (the Draft Spatial Plan) is a fully online and interactive document, so there is no hard copy or 'printed' version on the Draft Spatial Plan. A summary document has been prepared in PDF format and can be viewed and downloaded here or through the link above. Hard copies of this summary document are also available for public viewing at all Wellington City Council library branches.
We visited Wellington communities during the Draft Spatial Plan engagement with events and pop ups to provide the opportunity for people to ask questions about the plan.
Planning for Growth Live
We hosted a "Planning for Growth Live' online event - ‘What’s the shape of our city tomorrow?’ on the 13th of August
First Retail’s Chris Wilkinson, Talk Wellington’s Isabella Cawthorn, Vic University Senior Lecturer Rebecca Kiddle, Architect Gerald Parsonson, and Gen Zero’s Arron Cox dig into the detail of Our City Tomorrow (the Draft Spatial Plan) at this live stage event.
What is proposed in the Draft Spatial Plan
See what the spatial plan is all about from this quick video – it’s in three short parts. Central City (from beginning), Inner Suburbs (from 4:45), Outer Suburbs (from 9:55).
- View the proposed housing types
- Type 1 – Low Density Housing [1-2 storeys detached , semi-detached, infill housing]
- Type 2 – Medium Density Housing [2-3 storeys terrace type housing]
- Type 3 – Medium Density Housing [3-4 storey apartment buildings, may be mixed use in centres]
- Type 4 – Medium Density Housing [Mixed use and apartment buildings at least 6 storeys]
- Type 5 – High Density Housing [Mixed use and apartment buildings 8 storeys in centres and along existing and future high frequency public transport routes]
- Comparison of current height limit in the Operative District Plan vs. height limits in the Draft Spatial Plan
- Guidance - Using the Draft Spatial Plan - Viewing Heritage Items
- Background reports and documents
- View relevant maps in our map room
- See our frequently asked questions and answers
- Learn more about the Planning for Growth Project
- See what is happening next
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Phone: 04 499 4444