One of the major tasks ahead of the new business association will be the initiation of a community-led Structure Plan for Warkworth.
The plan will be a high level document to define where various land uses such as retail centres, housing, employment and parks should be located as Warkworth grows.
In conjunction with Auckland Council, Watercare and Auckland Transport, the plan will also provide guidance for improved infrastructure such as transport and stormwater, which will be required for growth.
Structure plans do not contain rules, but they are used to guide the future development of an area by coordinating and defining land use patterns and the location, distribution and integration of infrastructure in relation to local features, the existing town layout and community aspirations.
Developing a plan involves local boards, mana whenua and communities.
With Warkworth identified as one of Auckland’s two satellite towns (earmarked for significant growth) the need for an over-arching plan becomes crucial. Auckland’s Future Urban Land Supply Strategy will determine the sequencing and timing of how and where infrastructure is provided and, therefore, will influence the timing of when the identified future urban areas will be ‘development ready’.
Council documents indicate that structure planning and plan changes (to live zonings) will start in 2018 and those processes are likely to take about three years prior to the areas being made ready for development.
But Warkworth-based planner Burnette Macnicol would like to see Warkworth take the initiative and begin its structure planning process as soon as possible because of the rapid rate that development is already occurring.
“Without some overall guidance and community input as to how we want this community to develop, ad hoc development occurs resulting in effects that cannot easily be undone,” she says. “Because Council has identified Warkworth as an area for growth, this is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the community to work together actively to create the best outcomes possible for the future of Warkworth.”
Key Structure Plan questions include:
What are the key characteristics that define Warkworth – Is it wide streets, established trees or the river?
Looking ahead to a population of 20,000-plus people, where do we want industrial businesses based? How will we grow the core retail area so that it is vibrant and an area where people want to go, spend time and enjoy themselves? Where should people live? Where will new schools, hospitals, swimming pools and sports facilities go?
Where should reserve networks, cycleways and connectivity be developed?