Independent commissioners have given the green light for the company behind well-known Kiwi brand Sleepyhead to develop a $1 billion manufacturing and housing community on its 178-hectare rural site in Ohinewai, north Waikato.
The proposed development by Comfort Group, and its property arm Ambury Properties Ltd, will include industrial, commercial, and residential zones. It intends on developing a master planned mixed-use community over the next 10 years with 1100 homes for up to 3,000 residents, and a new factory creating up to 2600 new jobs.
The decision on the company’s rezoning submission on the Proposed Waikato District Plan has been under deliberation since hearings in September last year, when submitters presented their case to independent commissioners Dr Phil Mitchell, Paul Cooney, Dynes Fulton and Weo Maag.
The decision is open to appeal for 30 working days.
Waikato district mayor Allan Sanson said he is delighted: “This will mean a major boost for the communities of Ohinewai and Huntly, as well as for the whole Waikato district. It will bring jobs, revitalise the northern Waikato with affordable new housing, and encourage other commercial investment in the area.
“It’s a tremendous stimulus for the Council’s vision to create liveable, thriving and connected communities as New Zealand continues to navigate COVID-19 and uncertain economic times ahead.”
On behalf of the Kiingitanga, Archdeacon Ngira Simmonds, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Kiingitanga, said: “We welcome responsible development, that is considerate to mana whenua needs, environmental considerations and that will bring sustained employment for the people of the Waikato.”
The Council’s General Manager Community Growth Clive Morgan said development at Ohinewai would help achieve the Council’s ‘Waikato 2070’ growth and economic development strategy and would deliver a substantial increase in housing and jobs in the district.
Meanwhile earthworks have already started on a part of the development under separate resource consents. Alongside this, an application to build a large foam factory and rail siding are to be considered under the Government’s Covid-19 fast-tracking consenting law.
If the zoning decision is confirmed after the appeals period, Ambury Properties will still have to apply for a number of land use and subdivision consents to carry out the planned development, some of which are being progressed under the fast-track process.
The full decision by the Waikato District Plan Hearings Panel on rezoning in Ohinewai is available on the Waikato District Council website.
Photo credit: Jonathan Milne/newsroom.co.nz.
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Communications & Engagement Manager
Waikato District Council