Marlborough is expected to run out of land zoned for housing over the next 30 years.
A report from Marlborough District Council states that the area’s population is expected to exceed 60,000 people by 2048, with a longer-term deficit projected for urban development in the area.
It comes after increased pressure on Blenheim’s housing market and the town’s faster-than-expected growth.
Chief executive Mark Wheeler said the report identified a potential land shortfall for long-term urban development of around 900 homes.
“There are also potential constraints to developing already zoned land soon enough to meet projected demand over the next five years. Landowners whose land is currently zoned residential hold the key to unlocking this.
“To mitigate this, there may be short-term opportunities to rezone land on the outskirts of Blenheim. Several developers are actively considering approaching the council with rezoning applications which they believe could help address this challenge at short term.
Under the National Urban Development Policy Statement released in 2020, councils are required to provide sufficient land for urban development.
Findings from the 2021 Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment were shared with the council’s Planning, Finance and Community Committee last week and prompted a refresh of the region’s growth strategy.
Statistics New Zealand’s high-growth population projections (based on 2018 census data) indicate that growth in Marlborough over the next 25 years will result in an additional 9,490 people over the 2021 population estimate of 51,510.
Almost 80% of this growth is expected to occur within 10km of the center of Blenheim.
Wheeler said the Growing Marlborough strategy, which was completed in 2013, was almost 10 years old and it was time for a review.
This would allow the council to take a closer look at the long-term needs of the region.
The assessment focused on residential activity, but included a brief update on the demand for commercial land.
Wheeler said assessing the demand for commercial land continues to be a challenge and the assessment recommends the board assess the need for commercial land when refreshing the growth strategy.
“We will do this in consultation with the business community to ensure that the provision of land for commercial activity is sufficient and appropriate to ensure long-term growth.”
Recommendations from the Planning, Finance and Community Committee will be presented to Marlborough District Council this week.