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There are mixed views about how to best protect heritage in Hamilton, according to submissions on proposed changes to the city’s District Plan.

Hamilton City Council received 468 submissions to Plan Change 9, which was open for public feedback in July and August and are now calling for further submissions from today. As part of this process, people can either support or oppose another submission but cannot raise any new points.

City Planning Manager Mark Davey said feedback was varied. Some submitters felt Council had not gone far enough and wanted to see more buildings and more areas of the city protected for their heritage value.

This included adding Historic Heritage Areas to Harrowfield, Fairview Downs and commercial areas of Frankton and extending the proposed area in Claudelands and Hamilton East. More than 200 new built heritage items had also been proposed across the city.

Council has notified landowners who might be impacted by a submission to give them a chance to support or oppose it. This was particularly important for the Historic Heritage Areas, Davey said.

Strategic Growth and District Plan Committee Chair Councillor Ryan Hamilton is heartened by the number of Hamiltonians who shared their views through the submission phase.

“Engaging with our communities is an essential part of the process,” said Hamilton.

“It’s great to see Hamiltonians advocating for areas of the city they want to protect for future generations to enjoy. As a rapidly growing city, we only get a small window of time to protect those parts that show our evolution and are an important part of our story.”

Other submissions didn’t agree with the proposed changes and felt Council was taking away private property rights, or the changes were in conflict with other priorities to provide housing.

Davey acknowledged it was a tricky balance between the need to enable development and more housing in our city, with the need to protect what we have.

“We first followed a really clear set of criteria that’s recognised nationally and refer to our experts to assess the different elements against it. This means we can be really sure we’ve got the evidence to back the changes and they stack up legally. We then developed up a range of controls which best protect those elements”

Submissions relating to Significant Natural Areas, Notable Trees and Archaeological Sites also presented a range of views, many from individual property owners asking for changes to boundaries or specific rules that would now apply to part of their properties.

Over the next few months, technical experts will analyse all the points raised in the submissions based on a set of criteria and make recommendations to be considered.

It will be in the hands of a panel of commissioners to decide what makes it into the final version of the Plan Change 9 in mid-next year.

Hamiltonians can make a further submission to Plan Change 9 until 18 November 2022. 

To read the submissions and give your feedback, visit hamilton.govt.nz/planchange9

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