Pu­taruru’s big ur­ban ex­pan­sion

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

Pu­taruru is set to get 1300 new sec­tions in a ma­jor re-zon­ing ex­er­cise that vastly in­creases the size of the town.

The Pu­taruru Growth Plan is in re­sponse to a dra­matic change in for­tunes for the small Waikato town. Pop­u­la­tion growth is now pos­i­tive af­ter al­most 20 years of de­cline.

Sev­eral ru­ral ar­eas ad­ja­cent to the town would be re­zoned into a com­bi­na­tion of res­i­den­tial, ru­ral­res­i­den­tial and busi­ness zones, if the plan is ap­proved by the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil.

The town is un­der pres­sure from those flee­ing high prop­erty prices in Auck­land, Waikato and Bay of Plenty. The re­zon­ing is an at­tempt to cater to the de­mand for af­ford­able hous­ing and busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Sta­tis­tics New Zealand and In­fo­met­rics es­ti­mate the South Waikato dis­trict’s pop­u­la­tion has grown by 1.3 per cent over the year to June, 2017. This re­verses a trend of pop­u­la­tion de­cline that has av­er­aged 0.2 per cent, per an­num, since 2000.

The plan pro­poses ar­eas for re­zon­ing in the Maple Dr and To­tara St vicin­ity, Overdale Rd, an area ad­ja­cent to Thorn­ton St and Alexan­dra Cres, an area ad­ja­cent to Ara­puni Rd, Golf St, and Lich­field Rd, and an area in the Shol­son St and Ruru Cr vicin­ity. In to­tal over 130ha could be re­zoned.

South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil Com­mu­nity Group man­ager Sam Mar­shall said 1300 new sec­tions would help com­bat the town’s hous­ing short­fall.

‘‘The rea­son we are now do­ing some growth plan­ning is be­cause we are now see­ing some changes in trends,’’ he said.

‘‘Over the last cou­ple of years we have seen hous­ing sale num­bers triple.’’

He said if the coun­cil was to achieve its ob­jec­tive of growth for Pu­taruru it was es­sen­tial that ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture was in place. ‘‘I of­ten talk about hous­ing [work­ing in con­junc­tion with the] op­por­tu­nity to build a busi­ness. If you’re want­ing to bring peo­ple to live and work here it is ac­tu­ally re­ally crit­i­cal, you can not re­ally have one without the other,’’ he said.

He said the next step would be for the coun­cil to for­mally adopt the plan which would re­quire use of the Re­source Man­age­ment Act process for a Dis­trict Plan change. Months of com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, in part­ner­ship with Pride in Pu­taruru and Pu­taruru Mov­ing For­ward, took place.

SUP­PLIED

World fa­mous New Zealand artist Mr G by his Farm­lands Pu­taruru mu­ral.

Ru­ral Pu­taruru.

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