New Plymouth District Plan Review

New Plymouth District Council are the first to draft a new district plan written directly into a property-based digitally-driven e-plan

Every District Council is required to review its District Plan about every ten years.

As part of its District Plan Review, early in 2017 New Plymouth District Council engaged Boffa Miskell planners to assist with policy evaluation, preparation, data assessment and project management services to the New Plymouth District Plan Policy team.

Boffa Miskell planners efficiently and effectively evaluated and prepared plan content and Section 32 Evaluation Reports for numerous topics including earthworks, subdivision, outstanding natural landscapes and features, waterbodies, notable trees, hazardous substances, network utilities, noise and lighting, public access, signs and contaminated land.

The plan content was updated to address a number of resource management issues facing the New Plymouth District, including the following high-level issues:

  • The ineffectiveness and reactiveness of the ’effects-based’ framework used in the Operative District Plan
  • Shifting to a more strategic, activity-based District Plan framework, that focuses on known activity types and how they are to be managed
  • Alignment with best-practice and changing technologies
  • Giving effect to higher order national and regional policy documents
  • Strategic objectives and policies that provide guidance about key issues and the future direction of the District.

In February 2018, New Plymouth District Council released a fully interactive Draft Digital District Plan for public consultation. It was the first of its kind in New Zealand, as New Plymouth District Council was the first council to draft a new district plan written directly into a property-based digitally-driven e-plan.

The new draft district plan is fully digital: it is only available online and accessed via a GIS interface. There is no hard-copy or PDFs of the maps or text. The ePlan is very visual with aerial photography and easy-to-understand illustrated maps, diagrams and information about maximum standards. The 3D diagrams were also prepared by Boffa Miskell urban designers.

The process involved a high degree of stakeholder engagement, aimed at ensuring that the ePlan would be user-friendly whilst addressing the district’s resource management needs.

The Council and Boffa Miskell planners are currently in the process of reviewing the stakeholder feedback received, updating the plan content and continuing discussions with key stakeholders. Based on the current programme the Council expects to publicly notify the Proposed District Plan in 2019 for formal submissions.

The Draft Digital District Plan can be found here.

Our role

Planning, statutory planning and policy advice, plan preparation, consultation, urban design, preparation of 3D diagrams

The facts

ClientNew Plymouth District Council
Project teamHamish Wesney
Claire Kelly
Jo Young
Greg Vossler
Project date2017- ongoing
Awards2018 Nancy Northcroft Supreme Planning Practice Award, NZPI
2018 Best Practice District Award/ Regional Planning Award, NZPI
2018 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards - Better Policy and Regulation Award
2018 Technical Documentation Award, RMLA