A claim that growth in Warkworth over the next 30 years will bring 1400 new jobs was challenged at an Auckland Council meeting in Warkworth on August 3.
About 40 people attended a presentation on Council’s Future Urban Land Supply Strategy, which is part of the current Unitary Plan process.
The strategy proposes that 715 hectares in Warkworth could be ready for development over the next 16 years. Council envisages that the land will include a business zone, providing an additional 1400 jobs.
However, a participant at the meeting said the strategy was making sweeping assumptions that could not be justified.
“What’s driving this growth and what will all these new workers be doing?” Sandspit resident Alan Sexton asked.
In response, Council planner Simon Tattersfield said the figures were taken from the Auckland Plan, which had identified Warkworth as a satellite town.
“It’s not something the strategy looks at, it’s something the strategy accepts,” he said.
Planner Burnette Macnicol said she believed it was a chicken and egg situation.
“There is already business land zoned in Warkworth that can’t be used because of the lack of infrastructure,” she said.
Small group discussions at the meeting discussed the strategy and whether or not Council had got the sequencing of growth right. Under the strategy, Warkworth North (1900-2000 new dwellings) and Warkworth South (3700-4300 new dwellings) will both come on stream between 2027 and 2031. Warkworth North will be first, with Warkworth South following in the second half of the decade.
Participants questioned why a large parcel on the eastern side of Warkworth was not included in the strategy and there were concerns that what was proposed would further fragment Warkworth. Some said that private plan changes were going ahead regardless of whether or not Warkworth had a Structure Plan.
The feasibility of bringing forward work on large infrastructure such as water, wastewater and stormwater was also promoted.
However, a recurring issue of concern was the shortcomings of the current road network and, in particular, the Hill Street intersection. A suggestion that the intersection would cease to be congested when the new motorway opened was roundly rejected.
“If NZTA puts the Warkworth off-ramp north of Hudson Road and Council encourages growth to the south of Warkworth, then all those cars will have to go through the intersection to access the highway,” one resident said.
“The plan needs to show the infamous bypass from the proposed off-ramp to Matakana Road and Sandspit Road, because if it’s not part on the plan, then all motorway traffic heading to Snells Beach, Matakana and beyond will still have to use Hill Street.”