Brown and Smith Special: A Special Housing Area in the Middle of No Where

Two new Special Housing Areas announced in Southern Auckland

While we know Auckland needs to get a move on with housing placing Special Housing Areas in the middle of no where with no access to decent if any public transport, nor easy access to larger employment centres is really not on.

From The Office of the Mayor, and Minister for Building and Housing Dr Nick Smith

New Auckland SHAs to deliver 1800 new homes

Two new greenfield Special Housing Areas (SHAs) that will provide up to 1800 new homes in Auckland have been announced today by Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Mayor Len Brown.

“These two latest Special Housing Areas at Glenbrook and Drury in Franklin now bring the total number of Special Housing Areas in Auckland to 86, with a combined potential yield of up to 45,000 new homes. I am particularly encouraged that Auckland Council is continuing to advance greenfield sites for Special Housing Area status.

This is welcome progress, in both scale and momentum, to help address Auckland’s issues of housing supply and affordability,” Dr Smith says.

The two new SHAs announced today are:

  • McLarin Road, Glenbrook: 87 hectares, 800 homes;
  • Bremner Road, Drury: 68 hectares, at least 1000 homes.

“Both of the new sites are already closely located to amenities such as local halls, reserves and education centres, and we are confident that the proposed housing developments at these sites can be well-serviced by existing or planned water, waste and roading infrastructure,” Mr Brown says. “I also commend the undertaking from the developer to build at least 150 affordable homes at Bremner Road – or 15 per cent of the total project. This is above the 10 per cent affordable housing provision which is required in the Special Housing Area by the council.

“The council will be considering additional SHAs over the next few weeks, and hope to recommend more locations to the Minister in coming months,” Mr Brown says. The Auckland Housing Accord, which was agreed in October 2013 by Dr Smith and Mr Brown, provides for the creation of SHAs by Auckland Council with the approval of the Government. Qualifying developments in these areas can be streamlined and fast-tracked.

The Minister and Mayor also announced a 5.2-hectare extension to an existing 29-hectare SHA at Fred Taylor Drive in Massey. The Glenbrook site was gazetted yesterday, while the Drury site and the extension at Fred Taylor Drive have been recommended to Government by council and is due for gazettal shortly. Dr Smith also welcomed yesterday’s gazettal of 13 new SHAs for Wellington that will eventually provide 670 new homes.

This follows the announcement earlier this week of two further SHAs in Tauranga that have a potential yield of 210 homes. “We now have in place 118 Special Housing Areas through Housing Accords agreed with eight local councils across the country. Altogether, they will deliver more than 49,000 new homes across New Zealand, that will make a real difference to addressing the country’s housing supply and affordability challenge,” Dr Smith says.

“The Government has a wider programme of work underway which includes initiatives to constrain building materials costs, rein in development contributions, cut compliance costs and invest in improved sector productivity. Our new $435 million HomeStart support package, which came into effect 1 April, will provide grants of up to $20,000 for 90,000 first home buyers. “We remain committed to supporting this momentum and will continue with our programme to grow the supply of housing.”

Further information on the Auckland Housing Accord is available from: Pages/aucklandhousingaccord.aspx.


The Two New SHAs


Questions around the legality of the Glenbrook SHA have been asked as it falls outside the Rural Urban Boundary set in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. It is believed the Special Housing Accord forbids any SHA’s outside the RUB. Transport Blog and myself are waiting of the Mayor’s Office for a reply on this.

That said what on Earth possessed the Minister and the Mayor to allow the Glenbrook SHA. It is in the middle of nowhere and some 68km from the Auckland City Centre (or around 35km to Manukau City Centre). There is no employment centres due to be built-in the area within the next decade if not more so here comes some long commutes people. Given that public transport is non-existent out there your only option is the car.

So is it really affordable out there after taking into account car running costs and time commuting? I think not. A big FAIL there Minister, and Mr Mayor.

The Drury SHA is even more perplexing for several reasons:

  1. The Future Urban Land Supply Strategy (mentioned here: Auckland Development Committee Agenda Up. UPDATED With More Attachments) has Karaka not being opened up for at least 15 years. So rather odd Drury which is further south is being sped up now
  2. Public Transport out there is poor and there is no plans for any upgrades in the area any time soon. Not unless we get the $110m for the Pukekohe Electrification and the three new stations of which Drury is one.
  3. While there is the Drury South Industrial Complex nearby will it offer jobs so that some if not most won’t have to commute north
  4. Can the Southern Motorway (2 lanes each way) cope especially with freight traffic due to increase along that stretch and no sign of public transport upgrades any time soon

It seems these two SHA;s were not thought out very well by those involved.

It would have been more prudent to get a compass, drawn a circle two kilometres out from Manukau City Centre (a Metropolitan Centre) and any residential zone is upzoned to Mixed Housing Urban or Terraced Housing and Apartment Zones, place a Strategic Housing Area overlay (like Takanini) over the top and away we go.

Least then any new intensive housing is near both major employment centres AND actual transport links (road and rail)…..

6 thoughts on “Brown and Smith Special: A Special Housing Area in the Middle of No Where

  1. Would be interesting to see who the owners of land for the sections being developed in Bremner Road — as a resident in that area all of the sections in the SHA have been quietly bought up over the last couple of years, while those that haven’t been brought are not in the SHA.

    Would be interesting to know why only these sections were approved and not the others, or even the rest of the Bremner Road /Jesmond Road block.

    1. A very good question although one I might not get an answer on straight away when this was presented to me over the weekend:

      Nick Williamson commented on your update

      “The “middle of nowhere” is a very pakeha centric point of view. Perhaps you should consider the possibility that it is the centre of the universe for the people of ngati te ata. There are special considerations for ancestral Maori land.”

      I have asked for further information on this via guest blog post.

      1. Thanks Ben,

        The other questions that come to mind (on the Bremner Road SHA) are around the $8m of infrastructure that the developer is committing to make to improve services in the area. I’m not sure on how many cars will be travelling in and out of that area once all 1000 homes are built — but there are only 3 exits that they will have to use.

        1. Jesmond Road exiting to Karaka Road – already a dangerous, accident prone exit.
        2. Norrie Road to Great South Road – the bridge at Norrie Road is a single lane bridge.
        3. Firth Street to Great South Road – turning right, across traffic to get to the motorway.

        I wonder if any of the $8m has been set aside to manage the volume of cars that will be using these exits from the area. There is supposed to be a meeting coming up in September for people in the area to listen to the plans of the developer, wonder if there will be a chance to ask these questions then, or if it’s already to late.

      2. Hmmm something tells me the $8m would be more for water, waste water and storm water. Although given two of those exits cross into SH22 (so NZTA) there might be “improvements” there depending on what NZTA pushed

  2. M/Way carpark backs up nearly to Ramarama now. Improvements to Takanini to Papakura M/way only serve to move the bottlenecks. It was only 2 years ago that the tail end of the queue was at Slippery Creek now it’s nearly at Ramarama.
    Can we expect them to announce the timeline for infrastructure planning and construction prior to building?

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