The Warkworth Spatial Plan Working Group provided comprehensive comment on the draft Warkworth Structure Plan, which can be read in full with this story online.
Abridged versions of their answers are as follows:
Are there any surprises in the plan?
• Why is an apple orchard proposed to be “protected”? This is a site-specific issue that should be tested through a resource consent or plan change process. It is not a reflective outcome for a structure, which is intended to provide for the efficient use of urban land and achieve a quality compact urban form as dictated by Council policy.
• There is a large emphasis on light and heavy industry zoned land, the only new business/general business land is already flagged for a supermarket. How does this drive the employment future of the town? The opportunity for a “smart” economy is limited without general business. There are also limited opportunities for supporting business activities, such as the establishment of visitor accommodation, conference facilities and offices. This will limit the types of jobs that will be available in Warkworth, as the capacity of the existing town centre to provide for all the office and non-industrial or manufacturing jobs of the future is limited. This will also mean that people working in non-industrial or manufacturing or retail jobs will need to travel out of town for work.
• There does not appear to be any specific areas for rural services, such as stock and freight truck stops, service centres and so on.
Do you have any particular concerns?
• Light and heavy industry are placed next to residential zoned land with no (or only road) buffers to protect from noise, dust, etc. This detracts from the residential environment and affects the ability of industrial land to be properly and efficiently used. It will create issues now and into the future. There are better options to achieve greater separation of these land uses.
• There are pockets of inconsistently zoned land that will have major effects on the quality of streetscape – simply, these streets won’t be attractive and have the potential to become lesser enjoyed and valued places, i.e. residential, then a pocket of light industrial, then residential again on the same street.
• There is incomplete and ineffective public transport links for Warkworth north. No networks are shown along the Matakana link road or the proposed western link road, despite significant residential areas potentially accessing these roads. Again, people are being forced into cars as the only viable transport option.
• Heavy and light industry is placed beside the upper reaches of the Mahurangi River. Not only does this prevent access and good custodianship of the river, it degrades it as a visual amenity and presents potential pollution concerns.
• Lack of green open space simply because the Parks Dept does not have the budget today, should not prevent us from aspiring to have that amenity in the future.
Do you have any further comments?
• It is good to see higher densities proposed for Warkworth, but this does not appear to achieve the balance sought by the community for higher density with a corresponding increase in public open space. Indicative reserves are not shown in areas that achieve community aspirations, such as adjacent to the river tributaries. Esplanade reserves are insufficient.
• The structure plan is the document to guide the future development of Warkworth and a five-fold increase in population. The draft plan is not inspirational or creative. There are significant opportunities missed to promote the river and access to it and also the potential for Warkworth to be a hub for industry and businesses related to water-based and marine activities. The draft lacks imagination and understanding of the community.
• There needs to be an emergency services hub nominated.
• The disproportional emphasis on walkways and cycleways needs a lid put on it. A comprehensive roading network is the key to servicing the rural service community. Who is going to bring their produce to town on an e-scooter, or return with their weekly supermarket shopping?
Rodney Councillor Greg Sayers
I am disappointed that the Hill Street improvements were excluded from the structure plan, even though I asked for it to be included, but NZTA said they didn’t want it included, as they were already working on Hill Street as a separate project.
People have mentioned that the draft structure plan summary brochure posted to local residents asking for feedback is difficult to fully understand without reading the associated 150 page report. Therefore, I would encourage people who are interested in what future community amenities are being planned to refer to that more detailed report, rather than just rely on the summary brochure, to give informed feedback to Auckland Council’s planners.
Rodney Local Board
The plan was due to be discussed at the Local Board’s Transport Infrastructure and Environment Committee workshop last Thursday. However, on the question of an interim park and ride at the northern motorway interchange, which will eventually be replaced by a permanent park and ride at a southern interchange, Board chair Beth Houlbrooke says this will make no difference to the Board’s plan to run a park and ride of its own at the Atlas site, on SH1.
“The Board is building 80 to 120 carparks at the Atlas site, with construction expected to start sometime this year, funded through the transport targeted rate,” she says. “That will go ahead regardless of any future park and ride to be provided by Auckland Transport (nothing in the current 10 year plan), because the Atlas site has been retained for future community use. Any future community facility will require parking, so this is a long-term investment. The additional carparks will also serve as long-needed overflow parking for the showgrounds.”
We have not yet undertaken a thorough review, but can comment briefly on roading infrastructure as follows:
• We are pleased the southern interchange for the highway remains. This is crucial for Warkworth to cope with the planned population growth. We are concerned about the uncertainty regarding the location and timing of this work, and will be pushing hard to create greater certainty.
• Due to existing development, we do not see the western collector/connector serving the role Auckland Transport and Warkworth needs it to. This is a direct consequence of a failure to take timely action in the designation of the route and land. It is a failing we do not want repeated in relation to the southern interchange and the Sandspit collector.
• We see potential for a true free-flowing western collector commencing at the Matakana link road intersection in the north and running alongside the new motorway, to the west and south, on land that is currently designated for the motorway, so no significant land acquisition is required. This road would connect the proposed new western commercial zone and the southern interchange.
• We would also like to see the requests that arose out of the consultation for the locations of schools and a northern hospital reflected on the plan and in land designations. In response to this last comment, Auckland Council advises that it would also like to provide for these important services, but Ministry of Education and the Waitemata District Health Board, respectively, drive these two matters.