Structure Plans, (sometimes called Area Plans) are designed to provide strategic direction for a larger area, such as a city suburb or a whole township or village. They take into consideration the existing environment, the communities’ aspirations, physical limitations (such as infrastructure limits or significant natural areas to be protected). An overall plan is developed for area’s of growth or rejuvenation, indicating any infrastructure, transport, reserve or other needs to enable such growth to occur. Selwyn District Council has prepared structure plans for the townships of Prebbleton, Rolleston and Lincoln whilst Christchurch City Council has developed Area Plans for the new growth areas including north Belfast and south west Halswell.
Structure plans are non-statutory, however are usually taken into consideration when undertaking a District Plan Change or considering a resource consent application.
Outline Development Plans are for a more localised area and are usually to provide for greenfield development (of rural land) or brownfield redevelopment (of an existing urban area). An ODP is often included into a District Plan and any resource consents for development in these areas are required to be undertaken in general accordance with the ODP.
ODPs provide the specific detail of where primary roads, stormwater facilities, water supply and wastewater networks, and reserve areas are to be located. They also set out residential densities and the location of business zones.
These plans are particularly useful if a new development area is held in a number of ownerships, and the various owners are required to integrate their development with those adjoining them through consistency with the ODP.
ODPs are often created by Councils who take into account existing and likely service provision needs such as public transport, rubbish collection, and reserve requirements. ODPs are required to meet best practice urban design principles. The Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP) requires all new greenfield areas to be subject to the provision of an approved ODP prior to development proceeding.
Master Plans, like the other strategic plan types discussed above, are designed to create an integrated development, and are often prepared by developers for multi-staged developments of large areas, or by Councils, for example for redevelopment of commercial areas. Master Planning is a process of identifying and evaluating the underlying qualities and constraints of a site and using this information to develop a proposal which creates a high quality environment and can be readily implemented. It is a multi-disciplinary process, with input from urban designers, landscape architects, planners, traffic engineers, engineers and surveyors.
The Master Plan is designed to indicate the intended structure of a large, often staged development, and illustrate good urban design principles including in the layout of roads, green spaces and public space landscaping. Master Plans do not (usually) have any regulatory status, unless specifically referred to in resource consent conditions.
Aston Consultants are project managers and planning advisors for the 550 lot Flemington subdivision at Lincoln. This included preparation of an overall master plan for the subdivision as set out below.
Although the terms Structure Plans, Area Plans, ODPs and Master Plans can be confusing, they do provide excellent guidance about the development of townships, suburbs or specific areas, and provide an essential tool for decision makers in deciding on the shape of a new development.