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A brand-new neighbourhood in Hamilton’s south-west, a decade in the making, is a model for city planning, cutting-edge urban design and environmental resilience.

The hearings panel has released their decision yesterday (1 March) on the structure plan for the 740-hectare Peacocke neighbourhood which will eventually be home for up to 20,000 people.

The plan sets out how the Peacocke area will be developed; guiding housing style and density, transport connections and community spaces, as well as determining how the area’s cultural heritage and natural environment will be protected.

Hamilton City Council’s City Planning Manager Dr Mark Davey said this is the gold standard for how to plan new neighbourhoods in the country.

“This will be a New Zealand-leading exemplar of a well-planned, resilient community that enhances the natural environment and provides for higher density housing near the central city. Peacocke represents best practice in urban design and ecological outcomes.” 

Davey said the need for environmentally resilient and ‘spongey’ urban development is getting a lot of airtime right now.

“It’s important that we can respond to the changing climate and more intense rainfall events. Part of our plans is making sure we’re managing our stormwater right through wetlands and enough green spaces to provide drainage. Peacocke will be set up from the beginning to deal with some of the climate challenges the country is facing.”

Some of the requirements of building houses in the area include 50m buffer zones along the Waikato River, major gullies and known bat roost sites. It also identifies areas where bats might fly from one habitat to another, for protection from light and other impacts of housing. These areas will be restored through hundreds of hectares of native plantings, weed control and pest and predator control.

Davey said the purpose of these planning provisions was to enable high-quality urban development which at the same time restores and enhances the natural environment.

 “This plan has always been about striking the right balance between providing more housing and protecting those parts that make our city special – like the gully network and our native bats. Living in Peacocke alongside and nearby these huge ecological corridors will be a very special experience for future residents. It’ll be like living in an urban forest”

“This is already Council’s biggest ever investment in the environment, when you add work that private developers will do as part of their subdivisions – the benefit for our native bats, trees, birdlife and river will be incredible.”

Davey noted that much of this work was already under way as part of construction of the Southern Links transport network.  

“Council had a head start and is already delivering many of the enabling pieces of infrastructure in this plan through the construction of a new river bridge and arterial roads that run through Peacocke. These will be reaching completion late 2023, in time for housing development to get under way.”

Under the Resource Management Act 1991, submitters can lodge an appeal to the Environment Court within 30 working days. If no appeals are lodged, the plan becomes operative.

Find out more about Peacocke Structure Plan

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