The three-year Housing Accord between the government and Auckland Council finishes this September. A key part of that agreement is the creation of Special Housing Areas – places where developers can use the rules from the Proposed Unitary Plan rather than the existing set of rules, and where resource consents can (supposedly) be fast tracked.
However, Special Housing Areas will lose their legal status on 16th September, and go back to being normal pieces of land. Developers need to apply for resource consents or plan variations by then if they want to use the SHA rules.
Since it takes time to put those applications together, the Special Housing Areas announced yesterday will be the final ones. We can now look back at the programme, although it will take some years before we can really see its long-term effects, whether it has been a ‘success’ or not, etc.
In all, there’s been 164 SHAs created, in almost every corner of Auckland (east Auckland being the notable exception). The map below shows all these SHA locations:
The council has information on each SHA, and I’ve listed some interesting ones from the final batch below:
This is the Brownzy Tavern site, now planned for 66 homes (I’d guess these would be mainly apartments, with perhaps a few terraces). Browns Bay already has quite a few apartments – in fact, the Bay Palms Apartments are right next door to the Brownzy, with 65 units. On a personal note, my band played at the Brownzy back in 2005 or so, and noise control got called on the band playing after us. Old-school taverns are much more awkward neighbours for apartments than other apartments, so hopefully the residents next door are all in favour of new development in the area!
There’s also one more Browns Bay SHA announced in this batch, at 17 and 17A Bute Rd. This could provide another 36 apartments, next to the 44-unit Norfolk Apartments which were built in 2014.
Housing New Zealand
Housing New Zealand have been instrumental in a large number of SHAs across Auckland, and have plenty this time around – in Birkdale, Henderson, Onehunga, Massey, and several other areas (and extensions to existing ones in Avondale and Manurewa).
One which I particularly like is the Lynton Road SHA – currently 4 state houses, with potential for 60 apartments. It’s right next to the northern (Pak ‘N Save) end of Sylvia Park, so is close to shops, a train station and major employment areas. Great location for intensification.
Generally, the Housing New Zealand SHAs are all about removing old houses which don’t make efficient use of the land, and replacing them with new terraces and apartments. The new homes might be all state/ social housing, or they might include private homes as well.
Most of the SHAs confirmed in this batch are “infill/ intensification”, rather than sprawl. That’s good, and will go a long way to providing housing in places close to transport hubs, amenities, jobs, shops and schools. There are still a couple of far-flung SHAs, at Drury and Clarks Beach, and given that they’re long-term subdivisions which might take 5-10 years to build, they dominate the numbers (with 1,000 and 700 homes possible).
But there are plenty of better located ones – apartments in Browns Bay, Onehunga, Newton, Grey Lynn and more. Less intense housing (terraces, perhaps?) in Glen Eden and various Housing New Zealand properties. And there are plenty of ‘infill’ homes being built around Auckland, which haven’t been listed as SHAs because they work just fine with the existing rules.
To tie in with its SHA announcement, the government also released its long-overdue Monitoring Report on the Housing Accord – more on that another time. Auckland is certainly still a long way off building enough homes.