Tauranga Community Housing Trust: Redeveloping an existing site to deliver new affordable housing.
Tauranga is one of the least affordable cities in New Zealand with high housing costs relative to income and a significant and growing under-supply of one and two bedroom dwellings. Among other issues, there is a poor supply of accessible housing and lack of consumer choice, particularly separate housing with support provision.
Tauranga Community Housing Trust (“the Trust”) provides housing and housing related services in the Tauranga community, which included rental units on a site owned by Tauranga City Council (Council). The Trust saw the opportunity to redevelop the site to provide affordable rental housing, while continuing to manage the rental units as they did previously.
Council agreed to sell the site to the Trust in 2012, with the Trust continuing to manage the rental units as they did previously. The sale of the property was consulted upon in Tauranga City Council’s Ten Year Plan 2012-2022 process.
The site originally had eight, one bedroom units in four blocks. These units were old and in need of refurbishment and were poorly positioned within the site. Further, they did not meet long term community requirements or expectations.
The vast majority of the Trust’s tenants and clients have complex health, disability, financial and/or social needs in addition to a serious housing need. Approximately 80% require support including home, community and health support, personal care and specialist equipment and the large majority of clients do not own a private vehicle.
The Trust’s proposed redevelopment included relocating the existing units to an alternative site within their community housing portfolio, and redeveloping and intensifying the site with new units to achieve a sustainable, well designed medium density development.
The new development provided an additional six units on the site in three separate two storey blocks. These 14 units – six, 75m2 two bedroom and eight one bedroom units (60m2) – would each have either a balcony (for level two units) or mobility scooter lockable store areas and decks for level one units. Each unit was designed to meet relevant access and mobility standards with individual walkway/mobility scooter access from the street frontage and from a shared internalised car parking area.
The proposed development did not comply with the requirements for the site, which is framed with residential properties and located close to the Tauranga Hospital (a scheduled site). The development is a discretionary activity under the Operative Tauranga District Plan and a limited discretionary activity under the Proposed Tauranga City Plan. As the development did not meet two of the permitted activity rules relating to Density/Intensity and Scale and On-Site Car Parking requirements, resource consent was required.
During the consent process, consideration was given to the landscaping including the setback of buildings, the retention of the established trees and shrubs and landscape planting, which mitigated the visual impact of the development. In light of this, the intensity of the development was considered compatible and consistent with the surrounding residential and hospital environments.
As the majority of the Trust’s tenants and clients do not own cars, the requirement for two car parking spaces per unit was accepted as not being an appropriate requirement, in this instance.
And, as the development provided for disabled and people on low income as well as an affordable housing option to the community it was considered in accordance with the purpose of resource management, particularly in regards to enabling people and communities to provide for their social and economic well-being.
Approval was granted for the development, and construction commenced in February 2014.
As of August 2015, the development is completed, with 20 tenants now residing on the site.
This project demonstrates how successful such a venture can be. Eight small, cold and aging units have been removed. The 14 new apartments have turned eight bedrooms into 20 on the same site, delivering a 250% increase in accommodation. In addition, the benefits of modern design with double glazing, full insulation and larger living areas have resulted in better financial and health outcomes for residents. The project improved the wellbeing of the tenants and reduced the strain on their extended family and welfare systems.
The resulting well-managed village is sustainable, affordable for tenants, and has very high occupancy levels, (99%). Most importantly, the tenants and their families report a high level of satisfaction, particularly in terms of security and stability.
- High housing costs and a growing under-supply
- Opportunity to develop additional affordable housing on existing residential site
- Corner site at Clarke Street and Matthew Street in Tauranga
- Resource development consent required for proposed development
- Site now developed and providing affordable housing for residents in need in Tauranga