VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 20 POSTED ON: 11/3/2011
BEFORE THE CANTERBURY REGIONAL COUNCIL IN THE MATTER of the Resource Management Act 1991 ('the Act') AND IN THE MATTER of submissions on Proposed Change 1 and Variations 1-4 of the Canterbury Regional Policy Statement BETWEEN MILLS ROAD GROUP The Submitter AND CANTERBURY REGIONAL COUNCIL The Council STATEMENT OF EVIDENCE OF JAMES TALBOT BAINES Page 1 of 20 1 Personal introduction 1.1 My name is James Talbot Baines. I am a founding director of Taylor Baines & Associates and a specialist in social assessment. 1.2 I have undertaken training courses in Social Assessment, and have been a member of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) for the past twelve years and the New Zealand Association for Impact Assessment for the past fourteen years. Between 2000 and 2006 I was Chairperson of the IAIA‟s Social Impact Assessment Section. During this time I have also been engaged both in New Zealand and in South East Asia to provide professional training in Social Assessment and to develop Social Impact Assessment implementation programmes in Malaysia on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme. 1.3 In total, I have had twenty years experience in applied social research and Social Impact Assessment work. This has included participation and leadership in several multi-year social research programmes under contract to the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, as well as a wide variety of consultancy contracts for both public and private sector clients. 1.4 Within New Zealand my professional experience covers the application of social impact assessment in numerous parts of the country and across a wide range of proposals, including local government boundary changes, urban development plans, air quality plans, waste management facilities, prisons, mall and supermarket developments, port developments, casinos, marine farms and energy infrastructure developments. 1.5 In addition to my training as a social assessment specialist, I hold a Bachelors Degree with Honours in Chemical Engineering from the University of Canterbury and a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching from Wellington Teachers Training College. 1.6 I have in the past been called upon as an expert witness in a variety of settings including resource consent hearings, appeals to the Environment Court, and hearings before the Local Government Commission and the Casino Control Authority. 1.7 I have read the Environment Court's Code of Conduct and agree to comply with it. My qualifications as an expert are set out above. I confirm that the issues addressed in this statement of evidence are within my area of expertise. 1.8 The data, information, facts and assumptions I have considered in forming my opinions are set out in the part of the evidence in which I express my opinions. 1.9 I have not omitted to consider material facts known to me that might alter or detract from the opinions I have expressed. 2 Scope of evidence 2.1 My submission is in relation to land described in the Outline Development Plans (ODPs) presented by Mr Wade (hereafter referred to by me as the „Mills Road land‟ and the „Hills Road land‟). I understand that the submitter - the Mills Road Group (MRG) - wishes to have the Mills Road land included within the Metropolitan Urban Limit for the purposes of future residential development, as shown in Mr Wades Appendices 1 and 2. Furthermore, that it may also be relevant to consider including Page 2 of 20 the Hills Road land, immediately to the south of the Mills Road land, as shown in Mr Wades Appendices 5 and 6. 2.2 Mr McIntosh and Mr Putt have argued the case that insufficient land has been allowed for future residential growth inside the proposed Metropolitan Urban Limit. 2.3 I have been asked by the Mills Road Group to assess the merits of the proposed ODPs from a social perspective, with particular attention to the issue of social severance associated with the future Northern Arterial road alignment. The essence of my brief is to assess whether or not the Mills Road land is suitable, from a social perspective, for future greenfield residential development and should therefore be included within the urban limits, the specification of which forms an important focus of Proposed Change 1 and Variation 4. I have also been asked to comment on the suitability of considering the Hills Road land in a similar fashion. 3 Summary 3.1 The ODP for the Mills Road land described for you previously by Mr Wade (his Appendix 2) demonstrates a potential development proposal capable of accommodating ~780 households, when fully developed. The land to be developed lies immediately adjacent to the existing suburban communities of Redwood and Redwood Springs, is bordered on its northern edge by the Styx River, and is approximately one kilometre from the nearest point of access to the proposed Styx Town Centre1 3.2 Notwithstanding the expectation that a new Northern Arterial road will be established at some time in the future, passing between Redwood and the proposed ODP area, a residential neighbourhood numbering some 780 households would be capable of a reasonable degree of internal self-sufficiency, comparable with other established residential neighbourhoods in Christchurch, in terms of access to local amenities and convenience services, and in terms of having the basis for a distinct community identity to support social cohesion and the formation of community groups as occurs elsewhere in the City. 3.3 Based on a site inspection, consideration of the existing and likely future roading network and consideration of the Source to Sea Vision for the future of the Styx River, it is my judgement that future residents of the proposed residential development will experience themselves as living in a locality that is as well connected to its adjacent areas as other suburban neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the future Belfast2 Key Activity Centre. 3.4 Access to the next level of amenities and services - those usually associated with a Key Activity Centre - will in due course be readily available and accessible at the future Belfast Key Activity Centre. 1 Located on the southeastern corner of the intersection between the Main North Road and Radcliffe Road, the Styx Town Centre is currently the subject of a proposed private plan change (PC22), although the location of the future Town Centre - referred to as the Belfast Key Activity Centre - has been acknowledged already in the Officers Report (Submissions on PC1, Volume 3 of 4, Part 6, p.15). 2 See footnote 1. Page 3 of 20 3.5 The same conclusion can be made in relation to employment opportunities. Based on statistical evidence in Christchurch, a substantial number of residents living in a neighbourhood within a 2 km radius of a Key Activity Centre can expect to find work locally. 3.6 For the reasons summarised above, I support MRG‟s submission on Proposed Change 1 (PC1) which seeks to amend the maps to include the Mills Road land. 3.7 Furthermore, future levels of internal self-sufficiency, in terms of access to local convenience services, would be substantially further enhanced if the Hills Road land were also to be considered for inclusion within the Metropolitan Urban Limits. I refer to Mr Wade‟s Appendix 6, which adds a further 1,400 households at full development. 3.8 Of these two greenfield areas, the Mills Road land offers somewhat better residential prospects than the Hills Road land, on account of its relationship with the Styx River and its slightly closer proximity to the nearest Key Activity Centre for access to town- level amenities and focal points of employment opportunity. This may be a pertinent consideration in terms of the sequencing of greenfield residential development. 4 The Context 4.1 The policy and planning context relevant to this submission incorporates a hierarchy of instruments, which includes - - the Regional Policy Statement (RPS), - the non-statutory Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy (UDS), - the District Plan, and - several local planning activities, most notably the Belfast Area Plan and the Styx River restoration programme, and plans for the long-term development of transport infrastructure including the Northern Arterial road. 4.2 Proposed Change 1 (PC1) to the RPS is designed to give effect to the UDS, which is itself already the adopted policy of the Regional Council and territorial authorities. 4.3 The UDS aims to manage issues associated with population growth by seeking to influence the structure and patterns of future urban development. To give effect to the UDS, PC1 proposes specific Urban Limits, promotes intensification of residential development, reinforces the centres-based approach to the future structure of urban development, and provides for the progressive release (sequencing) of greenfields land for development within the Urban Limits. 4.4 Specific outcomes expected of the UDS include - - mixed use3 development within Key Activity Centres, which become significant focal points for business activities and community facilities; 3 „Mixed-use‟ refers to the combination of retail, commercial and residential activities within the same location and contrasts with traditional, single-purpose land-use zones. Page 4 of 20 - higher residential densities around Key Activity Centres, and - provision for mixed-mode mobility and access between the Key Activity Centres and their residential environs. 4.5 Important elements of future urban form in the northern part of the City are - - the new Key Activity Centre proposed for the northern part of the City at a location adjacent to the intersection of Main North Road and Radcliffe Road4, - the Styx River green corridor, - new areas of higher-density residential development in greenfield locations close to the future Key Activity Centre, and - the Northern Arterial road. 4.6 The Belfast Area Plan5 (BAP), currently in preparation, reinforces these expectations in the following outcome statements - - higher residential densities around activity centres, areas of high amenity and adjacent to the main movement network, - integrate residential development to waterway and open space linkages, both existing and to be developed, within the area. 4.7 The Styx river concept - Source to Sea - anticipates restoration and enhancement of the Styx River corridor for ecological, recreational and amenity reasons. 4.8 Two other factors are important considerations in the context for this submission - - the projected Northern Arterial Road (mentioned previously at pars. 2.3, 3.2 and 4.1) is expected to pass immediately to the west of the Mills Road land and the Hills Road land. I have been advised by Mr Penny of Traffic Design Group that the proposed Northern Arterial road (a concept only at this point in time) will be developed „at grade‟ but provide for the future use of Prestons and Radcliffe Roads by means of over-bridges. Its passage over the Styx River will also have to be designed in keeping with the requirements of the Styx River Vision. - the airport noise contour constraint on noise-sensitive development (including greenfield residential development), which is itself the subject of decision at this hearing, has implications for northern sector residential development. Specifically, 4 The existing Supa Centa is located immediately northeast of this intersection; the proposed Styx Town Centre (PC22) would be located immediately southeast of this intersection. There are no other appropriate locations for a new Key Activity Centre in the northern part of the City. This conclusion is further supported by work on the current Belfast Area Plan, which explicitly refers to the Radcliffe Road intersection as the location for the future Key Activity Centre (see footnote 5 for reference). 5 http://www.ccc.govt.nz/AreaPlans/Belfast/WhatHasBeenDone/, accessed 2 February 2009. It should be noted that the Belfast Area Plan focuses on a specified area north of the Styx River, reflecting the historical community focus of Belfast. In future, under the UDS, Belfast will become part of a larger northern sector to be served by the new Key Activity Centre, while retaining its local focus in a neighbourhood sense. Page 5 of 20 Environment Canterbury has estimated6 that confirmation of the airport‟s 50 dBA Ldn Outer Control Boundary is likely to reduce the number of households projected for the northern sector of the City by the year 2041 by about 1,250. These are households which would have been expected to be served by the new Key Activity Centre. 4.9 Having considered the range of contextual matters summarised in the preceding paragraphs, it is essential that the proposal for an ODP presented in this submission be interpreted in the context of the future pattern of development envisaged for the northern sector of Christchurch City eg incorporating the anticipated development of a Key Activity Centre at Radcliffe Road, and the pattern of surrounding residential developments - and not interpreted in the context of the present pattern of development. 5 The proposal 5.1 My analysis and evidence applies to the Outline Development Plan for the Mills Road land and the combined Mills Road/Hills Road land previously described for you in the evidence of Mr Wade. 5.2 I have had discussions with Mr Wade and viewed the maps contained in Appendices 1-8 of his evidence, and the Yield calculations contained in Appendix 9 of his evidence. 6 The framework for social analysis 6.1 The framework for social analysis which I have used to underpin this assessment is based on factors which contribute to social and community wellbeing. I summarise these in the following paragraphs, with examples as they might apply in the event that the proposed ODP for the Mills Road land is realised in future. 6.2 Physical and mental health: - supported by a viable, self-sufficient neighbourhood which addresses the issue of social isolation - in this case, an ultimate resident population of some 780 households on the Mills Road land or ~2,200 households on the combined Mills Road/Hills Road land; - supported by a spatial layout which encourages physical activity including both trip- oriented and incidental cycling and walking, and provides for neighbourhood-level social interactions and recreational opportunities of various kinds - in this case, a layout which affords a high level of accessibility to recreational spaces in the form of pocket parks, wetland areas and the Styx River, as well as good internal connectivity, offering choices for movement through and around the neighbourhood. 6.3 Housing, neighbourhood, living place: - reflected in the variety of dwelling types to support a social mix, internal connectivity and attention to good urban design principles - in this case, provision for a spectrum 6 Table 2 of the PC1 Officers Report indicates that the revised airport noise contours could result in the loss of 200 households from greenfields area CN1, 890 households from CN2 and 558 households from CN3, for a total of 1648 households from the northern sector of the City. Page 6 of 20 of residential densities and lot sizes, ranging from apartments to rural-residential sections, and thereby catering to a range of household sizes from single occupancy to family households with children or elderly dependents. 6.4 Education: - reflected in access to several existing primary schools7 within 2km, several existing pre-schools within 2 km, an integrated secondary school and a state secondary school within 3 km, and access via public transport (bus8) links to tertiary education in the City and at Ilam; - further supported by provision of space for local services such as additional pre- school facilities in the commercial areas of the ODP 6.5 Income, employment and quality of working life: - supported by proximity to several existing and emerging employment nodes offering considerable choice of employment sector - in this case, a major employment node at the future Key Activity Centre, the future industrial development envisaged northeast of Belfast9, and the existing primary sector employment in the Marshlands Road area; - supported by the potential for mixed modes of transport to work in the Key Activity Centre, and the established road network connecting to the industrial zone northeast of Belfast. 6.6 Leisure & recreation opportunities: - supported by proximity to a variety of leisure venues and locations for active and passive recreational pursuits, catering to a variety of ages, tastes and activity levels - in this case, the mix of leisure and indoor entertainment activities at the future Key Activity Centre10, the passive and active recreation associated with the rejuvenated Styx River corridor and other local parks and reserves, and the nearby city recreation resources of Bottle Lake and the beaches. 6.7 Access to goods, services and facilities: 7 It should also be noted that primary and secondary schools are frequently the venues for after-school, community group activities and continuing education programmes. 8 At the present time, Metro bus route 16 provides a service between the immediately adjacent suburb of Redwood and the City centre at a frequency of twice an hour. This service connects with other services such as the Orbiter at Papanui. 9 http://www.ccc.govt.nz/AreaPlans/Belfast/WhatHasBeenDone/, accessed 2 February 2009. 10 On the basis of similar centres already existing in Christchurch and elsewhere in New Zealand, this is likely to include a variety of socialising venues (restaurants, bars, cafes) and entertainment venues such as cinemas. We also note that shopping-related activity is highly regarded as a recreational activity by New Zealanders and that shopping centres are amongst the most popular leisure facilities used (Wilson, Russell and Paulin, 1990, Life in New Zealand, prepared for the Hillary Commission for Recreation and Sport. p75) Page 7 of 20 - supported by proximity to the hierarchy of centres in this part of the City - in this case, the future Key Activity Centre for town-level offer11, supplemented by the neighbourhood-level convenience offer at Redwood12 and Marshlands Road, and ultimately provided for internally, as shown in the ODP (Mr Wade‟s Appendices 2 and 6). 6.8 Quality of physical environment: - supported by good neighbourhood design with a focus on open spaces and permeability for pedestrian movement - in this case, the design shown in the ODP which seeks to make the most of environmental resources such as the Styx River and the network of re-aligned water races and stormwater management areas to accommodate higher-density residential development and the associated walkways and cycleways; - reinforced by protection from external sources of environmental noise - in this case, by distance from overflying aircraft13 and by the adoption of lower-density residential development in the vicinity of the proposed Northern Arterial road14. 6.9 Social attachment, social contact, interaction and social support and community participation: - supported by the critical mass of neighbourhood size - in this case, an ultimate resident population of some 780 households on the Millls Road land; - supported by a distinct community identity and sense of place - in this case, community identity and sense of place will be reinforced by clear neighbourhood boundaries (Prestons and Hawkins Roads and the Northern Arterial) and particularly the strong feature of the rejuvenated Styx River on its northern boundary; - supported by neighbourhood internal connectivity (previously described) and proximity to the future Key Activity Centre for town-level social services (previously described); - supported by proximity to existing neighbourhood-level organisations and social networks - in this case, the opportunity for involvement in social networks associated with (for example) pre-schools and primary schools in Redwood and Mairehau. 6.10 Personal safety, public safety, autonomy, freedom from too much risk: 11 On the basis of similar centres already existing in Christchurch and elsewhere in New Zealand, this is likely to include supermarkets, department stores, specialty retail, medical services, financial services, other professional services, as well as community facilities such as a library and Council service centre. 12 This currently includes a range of convenience shops such as dairies, bakeries, take-away shops, cafes, hair salons, and clothing stores. Also includes a range of primary health providers, pre-school establishments, and a library. 13 The ODP area is well outside the existing 50dBA Outer Control Boundary for Christchurch International Airport which is proposed for incorporation into the Regional Policy Statement as part of the Proposed Change 1 and Variation 4. 14 I have assumed that the standard of traffic noise abatement treatment for the proposed Northern Arterial will be the same on both sides of the road, ensuring similar levels of noise protection to residential areas on either side of the proposed road. Page 8 of 20 - supported by good urban design for neighbourhood safety and public safety in reserves and waterways; - supported by attention to flood risk management and design for appropriate flood risk standards - in this case, the attention given to stormwater management requirements throughout the proposed ODP; - supported by neighbourhood design for multi-mode mobility and access offering high degrees of choice over route (autonomy). 7 Potential social issues related to the resource management issue 7.1 The development of a suburban residential neighbourhood in the area covered by the Mills Road ODP must address several important social issues if it is to satisfy the primary purpose of the Resource Management Act “to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources” and particularly to manage “the use, development, and protection of natural and physical resources in a way, or at a rate, which enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety”. 7.2 In the context of this submission on PC1, which seeks to amend the maps to include the Mills Road land, the primary resource management issue for me to address from a social perspective is whether or not the Mills Road land is suitable for future greenfield residential development in a manner which compares well with other residential neighbourhoods in the City, and particularly in this northern sector of the City. 7.3 Bearing in mind the location of the Mills Road land in relation to the proposed Northern Arterial, an important potential social issue to be considered is that of social severance. Sub-themes related to the issue of social severance include connectivity with adjacent Redwood and the nearest Key Activity Centre, accessibility of residents to the normal range of amenities and services expected in suburban Christchurch once the greenfield development is complete, and the transitional arrangements for access to convenience goods and social services during the period when the greenfield residential area is under development. 7.4 Another important social issue to be considered, given the location of the Mills Road land, is the need to protect the amenity values associated with the Styx River concept and vision. 7.5 Other issues raised in key informant interviews, such as the conversion of agricultural and horticultural land into residential use and the potential for traffic congestion, are addressed by other experts giving evidence on behalf of MRG, including Mr Alex Smith and Mr Tony Penny. 8 Evidential basis for the social analysis 8.1 The social analysis which underpins the findings presented in the next section of my statement is based on various sources of information and data, including - Page 9 of 20 - discussions with other expert witnesses involved in preparing the Outline Development Plan for the Mills Road land, - a visit to the location of the Mills Road land, - a review of documents associated with the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy and the Belfast Area Plan, - interviews with a selection of existing service providers in areas adjacent to the Mills Road land as well as a representative from the Redwood Residents Association, - mapping the locations of existing services, - analysis of population census statistics from 1996 to 2006, and - comparative route distance analysis. 9 Findings of the social analysis 9.1 In this section I will summarise my findings in relation to the issues described in paragraph 7.3 above. Social severance 9.2 I have interpreted the concept of social severance in relation to the concept of „community‟. However, the concept of „community‟ is itself multi-faceted. Individuals frequently belong to more than one „community of interest‟. Even a defined residential area or suburb is only one aspect of „community‟ in contemporary urban living. Individuals have associations with others not only by virtue of their place of residence, but also by virtue of work associations, regular access to services, or shared interests in recreational, cultural, professional or service activities. Yet other social interactions are associated with kinship relations, which are not necessarily geographically focussed. 9.3 Nevertheless, in the context of this submission, which focuses on a specific area to be developed for residential purposes as part of a logical extension to the urban form of Christchurch City, it is indeed the geographical dimensions to community that are in my view most relevant to the issue of social severance. To what extent can a residential community be expected to form (on the Mills Road land) which is reasonably self-sufficient in terms of neighbourhood social interactions and meeting local social needs, and also with meaningful accessibility to geographically broader sources of social and other services and community interactions? 9.4 The following analysis seeks to inform an understanding of both spatial levels of „community‟ - the immediate residential community, defined spatially by the ODP area for the Mills Road land, and the adjacent suburban areas where local residents will satisfy a range of their social needs. 9.5 I believe it is instructive to compare the population scale of several existing residential communities and neighbourhoods with that envisaged at full development of the Mills Road land. These comparisons include the long-established suburban community of Page 10 of 20 Belfast, the suburban neighbourhood of Styx Mill/Regents Park15 and the evolving suburb of Northwood16. 9.6 Table 1 indicates population and occupied dwelling numbers for the contiguous residential area of Belfast17, the fully-developed residential neighbourhood of Styx Mill/Regents Park, the evolving greenfield residential suburb of Northwood and the corresponding estimates for the Mills Road land ODP at full development, as presented in the evidence of Mr Wade. Table 1: Comparison of population size - existing residential communities and neighbourhoods with proposed Mills Road land Residential area Usually Permanently Persons/hous Resident Occupied ehold Population Private Dwellings Belfast: long-established 1996 3,201 1,185 2.7 2001 3,351 1,293 2.6 2006 3,621 1,419 2.6 Northwood: greenfield suburb 1996 207 72 2.9 2001 198 69 2.9 2006 2,460 885 2.8 Styx Mill/Regents Park: neighbourhood 1996 66 15 4.4 2001 294 87 3.4 2006 846 258 3.3 Mills Road land at full 2,028 780 assumed 2.6 development Mills Road/Hills Road land at full 5,702 2,193 assumed 2.6 development 15 Initiated around 1990 as the exclusive Regents Park rural-residential sub-division, this residential area has subsequently extended across the entire block of land bounded by Styx Mill Rd, Cavendish Road, Barnes Road and the Main Trunk Railway Line. 16 Initiated around 2000 on land previously used for extensive apple orchards. 17 Census data contained in Census Area Unit „Belfast‟ minus meshblocks representing areas of dispersed rural settlement. Page 11 of 20 9.7 While residents of Belfast undoubtedly associate with other parts of the City for work, shopping, access to services and other social interactions, Belfast is also a community with a strong sense of identity and a substantial level of local social networking and social support. 9.8 The planned local shopping centre in Northwood has recently been granted consents and can be expected to be developed within the next 12 months18 to provide access to neighbourhood-level convenience stores and services (see Appendix A), in addition to those at the nearby Supa Centa. I note also that if the 50dBA aircraft noise contour proposed under Variation 4 is accepted, then further contiguous residential development west of Northwood will be limited. The Styx Mill/Regents Park residential neighbourhood, separated from Redwood by the Main Trunk Railway Line, has developed no internal shops or local services. However, there is sufficient linkage across the railway line at Barnes Road to ensure that most households are within 800m walking distance of the Redwood shops and services. 9.9 In discussing the issue of community severance, as it pertains to the selection of greenfield residential growth areas in Christchurch19, the Mills Road land has been variously amalgamated with other areas - the so-called “eastern options”, or at a more localised level, an area labelled „Redwood North‟. The widely-dispersed scope of the “eastern options”, when treated as a single entity, resulted in negative assessments20 of its potential for coherent residential development in future - due to distance from Key Activity Centres and centres of employment, distance from transportation corridors, and internal fragmentation/severance issues. In similar vein, the area labelled „Redwood North‟ is separated from the Mills Road land by the Styx River, but is, by itself, a relatively small area of greenfield land. 9.10 In my view, these points demonstrate how the Mills Road land has been disadvantaged in previous assessments by virtue of being amalgamated with other more constrained greenfield areas. 9.11 Table 1 demonstrates that the type of residential development described in the ODP for the Mills Road land is capable of providing for a future residential community of sufficient critical size and geographic focus to be socially self-supporting. This finding is further reinforced by considerations of connectivity and access which I discuss below. Connectivity 9.12 The UDS is founded on a centres-based approach to urban form. In this deliberately structured approach, it is intended that patterns of residential intensification are related to the location of centres of commercial and social activity. These centres exist in a hierarchy, from small neighbourhood centres to higher-order town centres. In the context of the Mills Road Group submission, small neighbourhood centres are 18 R. Field, Developers representative. Pers.comm 5 March 2009 19 Appendix 2 to the Section 32 Report on PC1 identifies an area labelled “Styx” with an IBD Reference “CG5A” which is very similar to the Mills Road land. It also identifies another smaller parcel of land labelled “Redwood North” with an IBD Reference “CG5B” which lies north of the Styx River, directly north of CG5A and potentially separated from existing Belfast by the proposed Northern Arterial. 20 Negative assessments by those involved in the UDS development process. Page 12 of 20 exemplified by the existing Redwood shops, the existing Belfast shops, the proposed Northwood neighbourhood shopping centre21, and the commercial areas proposed for the Mills Road land22. Higher-order town centres are exemplified by the Papanui and Shirley Key Activity Centres and the Belfast Supa Centa or future Key Activity Centre. 9.13 The concept of connectivity - summarised as opportunities and choice in relation to movement, mode of travel and route selection - is therefore important at the neighbourhood level and also in terms of how residential neighbourhoods relate to their nearest town centres. Connectivity is important for access to a range of amenities, for a wide range of people of differing circumstances and abilities. 9.14 At the local neighbourhood level, the layout of roads, paths and cycleways shown in the ODP for the Mills Road land demonstrates a high degree of local connectivity. This is reinforced by the 400m and 800m indicative pedsheds shown on the Location Map23, which demonstrates that the whole residential area conforms to realistic expectations of walkability. 9.15 In terms of access to a Key Activity Centre (KAC), the Papanui KAC and the future Belfast KAC are the most relevant to consider, with the latter being the closest for most prospective residents of the Mills Road land. 9.16 At the nearest point of the Mills Road land (the northwest corner, adjacent to the Styx River24) to the Radcliffe Road KAC location, the potential walkable distance is some 1.6km, and assumes new Styx River pedestrian crossing points in future, not inconsistent with the concept of Styx River as a green corridor attraction for recreational use25. Such a walkable distance is realistic in the context of personal exercise and visiting entertainment venues, but unlikely for the purposes of shopping at the KAC. Cycling the same route is entirely feasible. Travel distances to the Belfast KAC by car from locations in the Mills Road land have been compared with travel distances by car from other existing and future (greenfield) residential locations. These points are marked “A” to “H” on the map shown in Appendix B, as are the corresponding vehicular routes to the Radcliffe Road intersection with Main North Road. Table 2 lists the travel distances. 21 Referred to in paragraph 9.8 and depicted in Appendix A. 22 Refer to Appendix 2 of Mr Wade‟s evidence for map details. 23 Refer to Appendix of Mr Wade‟s evidence for map details. 24 Marked as point “W” on Appendix B of this statement 25 “In the future, it is proposed to develop a network of informal pathways along the river terraces, which will provide a series of short walks and contribute to the long-term provision of the Styx „Source to Sea‟ walkway.” http://www.ccc.govt.nz/webapps/projectnotices/projectview.aspx?projectid=3067 - viewed 27 Feb 2009 Page 13 of 20 Table 2: Travel distances Labe Residential location Existing/greenfiel Distance by l d road A Mills Road land - Selkirk Place greenfield 3.4km B Mills Road land - Mills Road greenfield 3.4km C Redwood existing 2.7km D Belfast s293 area: CN1 in PC1 greenfield 2.1km E Belfast existing 2.3km F West Belfast area: CN2 in PC1 greenfield 2.5km G Upper Styx area: CN3 in PC1 greenfield 3.5km H Upper Styx area: CN3 in PC1 greenfield 2.7km 9.17 Table 2 demonstrates that residents in the proposed new neighbourhood on the Mills Road land would be no further away from the Belfast KAC location than residents in the proposed CN3 greenfield residential development area which was originally included in the northern sector26. Furthermore, the differences between other residential locations and the Belfast KAC, in terms of travel distances by car, are negligible in practical terms. 9.18 Public transport options for residents of the proposed greenfield residential development on the Mills Road land would involve only minor extensions to existing bus routes, particularly services 11, 13 and 16, which all currently offer services27 approximately twice every hour. 9.19 In my opinion, internal connectivity within the Mills Road land ODP is high, and connectivity with Redwood and the future Belfast KAC would also compare favourably with other greenfield residential options in the City‟s northern sector. 9.20 The movement network for the Hills Road land, shown in Appendix 8 of Mr Wade‟s evidence, shows similar attention to internal connectivity within the Hills Road land. However, travel distances to the Belfast KAC for most prospective residents of the Hills Road land are slightly longer than for their Mills Road counterparts. Indeed, prospective residents of the southern parts of the Hills Road land would be closer to the Papanui/Northlands KAC. Access to employment opportunities 9.21 Two conclusions can be drawn from an analysis of 2006 census data on location of residence and location of employment. 26 The CN3 has subsequently been re-considered as a result of Variation 4, due to its situation within the proposed 50 dBA aircraft noise contour. 27 Service 11: Supa Centa to Westmorland, via the City Centre; Service 13: Redwood to Hoon Hay, via the City Centre; Service 16: Belfast to the City. Page 14 of 20 9.22 Firstly, residents of Christchurch are accustomed to travel considerable distances to work in other parts of the City. Not surprisingly, the spatial pattern of work locations around the City corresponds to the location of existing commercial centres and industrial zones. There is also an element of localised preference. Two maps, attached as Appendix C, demonstrate this pattern, for residents of two neighbourhoods near the Mills Road land - Redwood North, immediately adjacent to the Mills Road land, and Northwood (called „Belfast South‟ in census statistical areas) which was a greenfield residential development started in the late 1990s. For residents of Redwood North, apart from working in the CBD (272 workers), working at home or employment in the immediate neighbourhood28 was most popular (153 workers), and working in nearby centres was the next most common (Papanui/Northlands - 114; Belfast - 57). Work in the industrial areas of the City accounted for 195 workers. Similarly, for residents of Northwood, apart from working in the CBD (216 workers), working at home or employment in the immediate neighbourhood was most popular (111 workers), and working in nearby centres was the next most common (Papanui/Northlands - 42; Belfast - 27). Work in industrial areas accounted for 111 workers. 9.23 Secondly, as noted in the previous paragraph, Key Activity Centres are important locations for finding employment. Workers come from extensive residential catchment areas, but spatial trends - decay with distance - are also evident. Two maps, attached as Appendix D, demonstrate this spatial pattern for the existing KAC of Papanui and the existing Supa Centa in Belfast. In both maps, it is evident that the Mills Road land is located in the primary residential catchments for people working at these two centres. 9.24 The Belfast Supa Centa is already a substantial focal point for employment in northern Christchurch, employing approximately 400 people in 2006. Its elevation to a Key Activity Centre in future can be expected to increase this role significantly, with a three or four-fold increase in job numbers likely29. Prospective residents of the Mills Road land will be well placed to take advantage of employment opportunities there, supported by the potential for all modes of transport to work in the KAC, as discussed in paragraphs 9.15 to 9.18 above. 9.25 A similar finding holds for prospective residents of the Hills Road land ODP. Access to shopping, services and community facilities 9.26 As I discussed for connectivity at paragraph 9.13, access to shopping, services and community facilities is important at various levels in the spatial hierarchy. In the following paragraphs I will explain how a residential community on the Mills Road land would be well provided for at all levels. 9.27 In this discussion, shopping covers the range from household essentials of food and groceries to general merchandise purchases; services covers the range of personal services such as hair dressers, professional services such as legal or accounting, medical and health services, educational services, business services as well as social support services; and community facilities covers the range from libraries, recreation 28 i.e. in the same statistical Census Area Unity. 29 Mark Tansley, Retail and Economic Analyst. Pers.comm. 30 January 2009. Page 15 of 20 centres, churches, sports clubs and so on. This description is indicative of the range rather than exhaustive. 9.28 Furthermore, the size of population being served influences the range and diversity of amenities that are viable. I will illustrate this with some indicative examples30. For example, a full-service supermarket usually requires a catchment of some 4,000 to 5,000 households, whereas a small corner dairy/convenience store may well be viable with about 1,000 households supporting it. Convenience services such as hair salons and take-away fish and chip shops often exist with catchments of around 400- 500 households, while more specialist stores such as stationery shops need larger catchments, say 1,200-1,500 households. Approximately 1,400 people (~520 households) within a 3km radius of a medical practice is considered a benchmark of demand for each GP31, while kindergartens and pre-schools may establish to serve 30032 households or more. 9.29 With these indications in mind, the commercial areas proposed in the ODP33 for the Mills Road land - adjacent to Prestons Road and at the northern end of the ODP near the Styx River - could be expected at full development to support a small range of local enterprises including a café, a pre-school facility, a take-away bar, a hair dressing salon and other similar local offer. These are the kinds of enterprises that underpin local access and convenience, and generally within a walkable distance, for a residential population of this size. As exemplified by neighbouring Redwood, a larger residential population will support a somewhat larger range of local enterprises. 9.30 Larger centres are generally the location of higher-order commercial activities - supermarkets, department stores, specialty stores, competing cafes and restaurants, and entertainment facilities such as cinemas. Sometimes, community facilities such as libraries and service centres, and access to government agencies can be found in larger centres. Some of this diversity and scale is already evident at the Belfast Supa Centa location. It can be expected that the range and diversity will increase as and when the location evolves into a Key Activity Centre, as envisaged in the UDS and PC1. I have already described, at paragraph 9.24 how prospective residents of the Mills Road land will be well placed to benefit from this future development of the Belfast KAC. 9.31 Finally, residents from all parts of the City look to the CBD to some extent for access to regional amenities - the Town Hall, the Museum, the Art Gallery, the Arts Centre, the Botanical Gardens, the hospital, the stadium, tertiary institutions, the City Council offices, as well as the specialist services, comparison shopping and recreational precincts offered by the City. In this respect, prospective residents of the Mills Road land would be as well placed as those in other greenfield developments in the northern part of the City to access the CBD. The Mills Road land is arguably considerably closer to the CBD than the greenfield sites in the south west of the City, and much closer than many outlying areas. 30 Mark Tansley, Retail and Economic Analyst. Pers.comm. 30 January 2009 31 Funding Manager, Waitemata DHB, Pers,comm. Feb 2007 32 50 children/day or 25 children morning and afternoon: typically with 6% of the population aged 0-4 years, 50 children in this age group will be associated with a total resident population of 830, or 310 households at 2.7 person per household. 33 Appendix 2 to Mr Wade‟s evidence. Page 16 of 20 9.32 Therefore, I conclude that the prospective residents of the Mills Road land would be well placed for access to shopping, services and community facilities, with levels of access likely to be comparable with existing residential areas in the City. 9.33 I draw a similar conclusion in respect of the prospective residents of the Hills Road Land ODP. However, I make the additional observation that a combined ODP, resulting at full development, in some 2,200 additional households, would likely support a substantially broader range of local convenience outlets, including possibly, by way of example, a local dairy and a medical centre. This would enhance substantially the level of accessibility for prospective residents at the local level. Transitional arrangements 9.34 A greenfield residential development does not come into existence instantaneously. It is necessary therefore to consider how prospective residents would achieve access to services and amenities in the early stages of development, bearing in mind that some of these associations are likely to continue even once the area‟s development is complete. 9.35 I address this issue by assessing the range and capacities of local businesses and services which are already established in the adjacent neighbourhoods - Redwood and Marshlands - as well as access to higher-order commercial activities. 9.36 A closer look at the commercial offer in Redwood reveals an extensive number of local shops and services34, catering both to Redwood, but also generally to a broader market or catchment as a result of being on the existing northern route into and out of the City. In several instances there are multiple local convenience stores of the same type - hair salons, bakeries, dairies, take-away shops, fashion shops, cafes. Redwood also hosts some long-established community facilities such as a library, NZ Post facility, Senior Citizens Recreation Centre and Tennis Club. These amenities would be accessible nearby even for the earliest prospective residents of the Mills Road land. 9.37 Not much further afield, the existing Belfast Supa Centa already contains a selection of higher-order shopping in the form of two supermarkets and a range of large format outlets. The Supa Centa has evolved rapidly as greenfield residential development has occurred nearby over the past decade or more - the Styx/Regents Park sub- division, followed by the Northwood sub-division. Recreation facilities such as a commercial gymnasium are already in existence, as well as daycare services and a selection of cafes and restaurants. 9.38 Regarding educational and health services in the vicinity of the Mills Road land, some services are currently at capacity while others have considerable scope for expansion. The Mills Road land would logically fall within the residential catchment areas of these services. 9.39 Several primary schools are nearby: Redwood School and Marshland School have zones which currently meet at Mills Road, while Glenmoor School to the south has no zone. Redwood and Marshland schools are currently close to maximum rolls and have physical constraints for expansion on site, although Marshland School has 34 Listed in Appendix E. Page 17 of 20 vacant land next door which could offer expansion possibilities while still retaining the rural setting which is much valued by the school community. Both Redwood and Marshland schools provide for after school community uses and Redwood School has a role as a community focus for its urban neighbourhood. Glenmoor School to the south was established in 1958 to accommodate urban expansion in the north of the City, before the „green belt‟ was established; it has considerable scope to expand its current roll. The nearest state secondary school, Mairehau High School, has no zone and takes students from a wide geographic area, with plenty of scope to expand its roll. 9.40 Pre-schools and kindergartens tend to establish at closer spacings, although they sometimes take children from across a broader catchment. For example, Redwood Kindergarten takes children from Belfast, Northwood, Redwood and Casebrook while the Redwood Early Childhood Centre nearby takes children from Belfast, Redwood, Northcote and Papanui. Both of these facilities currently have full rolls and waiting lists, and no scope to expand on site. However, there are currently at least three other similar facilities operating in the Redwood area35. 9.41 Existing primary health services also display a mix of circumstances. The Redwood Medical Clinic and a sole practice GP in Prestons Road both currently have closed books and no room to expand on site. The next nearest medical centres are on the Main North Road (just south of QE2 Drive and two in Belfast). Redwood Dentists take patients from Redwood and Casebrook and secondary students from St Bede‟s, Papanui and Mairehau and have plenty of scope to expand on site, while Redwood Physiotherapy draws mainly from Redwood, but also Waimakariri District and also has plenty of scope to expand36. Redwood Pharmacy is busy but could easily expand business on its existing premises. The pharmacy confirmed that local doctors are busy and that there is already demand for more such services to establish locally. 9.42 The Redwood library caters to residents from Northcote, Redwood, Northwood and north of the Waimakariri River. It services local schools and pre-schools, but is at capacity and a new library is planned for the area. However, it appears more likely that the new, larger library will be in Belfast and it is not known whether the existing library facility would remain in Redwood as well. Importance of the Styx River 9.43 The Belfast Area Plan37 draws attention to the importance of the Styx River - “The quality of open space is a key attraction of living in Belfast, with the Styx Conservation Area, Groynes, Clearwater and Englefield and Sheldon Parks providing the greatest diversity of open space opportunities of any area in the City. Such networks need to be retained, enhanced and extended to cater for increased urban development in the area.” “Key improvements proposed: 35 Refer to Appendix 1 of Mr Wade‟s evidence - Mills Road Location Map. 36 Noting that another 2,000 households would create another part-time staff position. 37 http://www.ccc.govt.nz/AreaPlans/Belfast/WhatHasBeenDone/ - viewed 27 Feb 2009 Page 18 of 20 - Creation of green corridors to link major parks, and protect the functioning and recreational value of esplanade areas adjacent to the Styx River and Kaputone” “Key outcomes anticipated: - Substantial esplanade reserve adjacent to all waterways, but in particular the Styx River; - Higher residential densities adjacent to significant areas of open space or adjacent to appropriate rivers and wetlands; - Increased provision of walking paths and cycle lanes, which are linked with open space areas and transport networks.” 9.44 Reference to the Appendix 2 of Mr Wade‟s evidence demonstrates how the ODP for the Mills Road land supports these “key improvements” and “key outcomes”. I draw particular attention to - - the extension of the existing substantial esplanade reserve feature on the south side of the Styx River that passes the Redwood Springs sub-division; - the higher residential density indicated along the northern edge of the ODP, and also along its internal waterway; - the increased provision of walking paths and cycleways linked to open space and future transport nodes, and the potential link to the Belfast KAC; - the commercial area at the northern end of the site, associated with this recreational destination point and providing for such facilities as a café and convenience store. 9.45 In summary, the ODP can be seen as contributing a substantial increment towards realising the Styx River “Source to Sea” concept and vision. 10 Conclusions 10.1 On the basis of the analysis which I have reported in the previous section of my evidence, I make the following conclusions - - a residential neighbourhood numbering some 780 households would be capable of a reasonable degree of internal self-sufficiency, comparable with other established residential neighbourhoods in Christchurch, in terms of access to local amenities and convenience services, and in terms of having the basis for a distinct community identity to support social cohesion and the formation of community groups as occurs elsewhere in the City; - future residents of the proposed residential development would experience themselves as living in a locality that is as well connected to its adjacent areas as other suburban neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the future Belfast Key Activity Centre; - access to amenities and services across the full range, from local neighbourhood amenities and services to town-level amenities and services usually associated with a Key Activity Centre, would in due course be readily available and accessible to the Page 19 of 20 future residents and community occupying the Mills Road land. The level of access would compare favourably with the level of access likely to be experienced by new resident communities in other greenfield locations38 in the northern part of the City; - ready access would exist to a range of employment opportunities in retailing, office work, professions, industrial activities and primary production locally as well as elsewhere in the City. 10.2 The constraints on future greenfield residential development discussed in the s32 reports for PC1 and Variation 4 do not apply to the Mills Road land. Indeed, in addition to the evidence I have discussed above, I would draw the commissioners‟ attention to the fact that the Mills Road land was shown as being included within the urban limits in each of the three options which were explored for the development of the Northern Arterial alignment during the process of preparing the UDS39. Indeed, the schematic maps each show the Mills Road land as the location for an Activity Centre. 10.3 I have concluded that access to local amenities would be further enhanced if the Hills Road land were also to be considered for greenfield residential development, thus expanding the scale of the new urban residential neighbourhood east of the proposed Northern Arterial. 10.4 I also conclude that, in terms of development sequencing, the Mills Road land appears preferable to the Hills Road land because of the opportunity it provides for developing higher-amenity residential areas along the southern bank of the Styx River and because of its closer proximity to the emerging Belfast Key Activity Centre. 10.5 For the reasons I have given above, I support MRG‟s submission on PC1 which seeks to amend the maps to include the Mills Road land. 38 Particularly greenfield area CN3. 39 Refer UDS Technical Document, p.10-9. Page 20 of 20
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