Plan Change 23 (PC23) changes the former Hokowhitu campus from an institutional zone to residential. Site owners Wallace Development are now able to transition the land to residential development. The institutional activities can remain while the site is being developed.
The hearing decision concludes that PC23 enables a development which provides for Palmerston North's growth and maintains the amenity qualities valued by residents.
“We’re pleased with the outcome of the hearing,” says David Murphy, PNCC City Planning Manager. “This is a timely decision as there is a strong demand for new housing in the city. We firmly believe the rezoning is good planning, as it makes use of existing land and infrastructure and enables the former Hokowhitu campus to be repurposed.
“While the planning process can be lengthy, the hearing was effective in ensuring the primary concerns of the Manawatū Golf Club were addressed. The plan change provides certainty to the community about the long-term future of the former Hokowhitu campus.
“The site is unlikely to provide affordable housing, it does however provide the city with additional housing. We have other District Plan changes aimed at addressing housing affordability.”
The commissioners noted in their decision the potential for residential growth on the site within the urban area would be more efficient and a less costly option than land on the city periphery, which may require new infrastructure.
The decision also confirms that quality design is required to recognise the unique characteristics of the site.
Council planners have worked closely with Rangitāne, Wallace Development, Manawatū Cancer Society, Memorial Grove representatives and Massey University to ensure the Ruahine and Memorial Grove sites are protected.
The panel of commissioners were two independent commissioners, Chris Mitchell and Reginald Proffit, and two Council commissioners, Tangi Utikere and Lorna Johnson.