Central City Recovery Plan

30 Jul 12

The Recovery Plan for the CBD was released this evening (Monday 30 July 2012) by the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU). The unit was established by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) in April of this year and given 100 days to complete the Recovery Plan originally drafted by Christchurch City Council. One hundred and three days later the Plan has now been released and delivers a Recovery Plan together with implementation timelines, a blueprint plan showing the location of 17 anchors (including the National Memorial which will be located following further consultation) and a volume of amendments to the District Plan.

The Recovery Plan follows a similar format to the draft prepared last year by CCC, outlining the desired vision for the city (a distinctive, vibrant and prosperous 21st century city), recording the community’s views via Share an Idea and identifying a number of activities considered desirable in rebuilding a new and better CBD.

The key differences are that this Recovery Plan specifies exactly where the anchor projects will go (a map is provided at pages 33 and 34 showing the locations) and utilises the Minister of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery’s powers as a Requiring Authority to designate sites for that purpose. This provides a level of certainty as to locations not found in the previous draft. The placement of the anchors is the work of the Blueprint 100 consortium, a team of international and local designers led by Boffa Miskell.

A number of the anchors are placed on private land meaning the government has an extensive acquisition process ahead of it. It is noted the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011 enables land to be compulsorily acquired before compensation is determined (unlike the Public Works Act). This means protracted negotiations over land values will not necessarily delay development and given the ambitious implementation timeframes set out in the Recovery Plan it is possible that the Government may move quickly to acquire the necessary land, at least on priority projects.

In addition to the location of the anchors, key facets of the plan are the establishment of:

  • A new consolidated business hub (The Core) – the previous Central City zone covered an area of around 90 ha – the revised zone covers a mere 40ha.
  • A new Frame to the north, east and south of the Core– effectively delineating the new business zone and sending a clear signal as to the premium commercial location. The Frame provides for a wide range of activities to take place, within a lower density greenspace area.
  • A new mixed use area beyond the Frame. The changes to the District Plan send a significant message that this area is intended to be complementary to, rather than compete with, the Core by making retail and offices over 450m2 non-complying activities in this zone.

In terms of some of the more contentious issues from the draft Plan it is noted that (perhaps unexpectedly) building heights have decreased (from 31m in the CCC Plan for the central city to 28m in this plan), the grandfathering provisions (allowing a 4 year period within which pre earthquake buildings could be reinstated) have (also perhaps unexpectedly) been removed and the BASE (sustainable buildings) provisions have not been carried forward.

A chapter in the Recovery Plan sets out the key changes to the District Plan together with the rational for those changes (see page 57 onwards of the attached Recovery Plan).

More detail on the Recovery Plan and its implications will be uploaded to the website in the coming days.
In the interim if you have any questions related to the changes to the District Plan or other RMA related matters please contact our specialist Resource Management Team. If you have queries around land acquisition or other commercial matters please contact our specialist Commercial Team. Anderson Lloyd has been extensively involved in matters related to the rebuild of Christchurch, including advising on a range of accelerated projects under the CER Act. We are well placed to assist with your enquiries.

We have been at the forefront of issues relating to the rebuild of Christchurch city and are proud to have partner Lauren Semple, form part of the in house legal team at the Central City Development Unit.

The Recovery Plan is attached below and Appendix 1 – Amendments to Christchurch City Council’s District Plan is available by clicking here.

Recovery Plan 2012