Environment emerges as key spatial issue

Ian Hutchinson

Environmental issues have figured strongly in a survey that sought community views on the future shape of Warkworth.

The survey was organised by a group of engineers, planners, surveyors and business people, all living in the Warkworth area, who have donated their services to create an independent “skeleton structure” for the development of Warkworth.  

Ian Hutchinson, of Hutchinson Consulting Engineers, says early analysis of survey results shows that planning needs more emphasis on the environment, through such things as providing sustainable modes of transport, protection of natural features and more open space.
In particular, locals want the Mahurangi River bush areas protected.  

Survey respondents also said that any planning should aim to restore the environment rather than simply focus on reducing negative impacts.

Ian says further assessment is required to understand what this would look like in practice. In addition to environmental concerns, respondents also indicated they wanted more land for industrial and commercial activities in the Woodcocks and Hudson Road areas, and in the north of Warkworth to provide more local jobs, so that people don’t have to travel long distances.

On roading, respondents strongly supported a southern interchange on the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway, currently under construction.

A better route for linking with Mahurangi East was a common response, while walking and cycling, especially for children to get safely to and from school, generated considerable feedback.

Most people generally supported some form of higher density urban development, as long as the location was appropriate and the height not imposing. Those who favoured urban sprawl saw value in extending Warkworth’s urban boundary further east towards Snells Beach.

Respondents indicated they want to see residential development located away from the motorway and industrial areas, and closer to the town centre and local shops, with good connections to amenities especially parks, open spaces and schools.

Heritage aspects and how to continue providing rural services were also strong discussion points.
Ian says the group will now do further analysis and discuss “what next” in terms of working with Auckland Council to ensure the information gathered is put to good use.

“People put a lot of time and effort into filling out the surveys. Our job now is to put a comprehensive report together to share with the community and Council so we can come up with some recommendations people will be happy with,” he says.

The report will help inform Auckland Council’s Warkworth Structure Plan.

Work on the plan will start this year, 12 months earlier than expected, following community concern over urban growth.


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