Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism, The Property Group, Castalia Advisors
Contributed to a plan change application for mixed-use development in Dargaville, including masterplan concept development and planning provisions, market demand analysis, economic impact assessment and social impact assessment.
An opportunity to develop the Dargaville Racecourse site was enabled through a tripartite arrangement with the Dargaville Racing Club, the Dargaville Development Board and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua. The tripartite group received Provincial Growth funding to prepare a plan change application to Kaipara District Council for future development of the site.
The tripartite group had diverse aspirations and requirements which required balancing, including the Rūnanga as future developer, Racing Club as landowner, with the community board aspirations to develop a retirement village. The aspirations and needs of the local community also required balanced consideration.
The development opportunity was a challenging proposition from an urban design perspective, seeking to create a mixed-use development with suburban residential activities on a rural site, on the fringe of the Dargaville township. The Kaipara Spatial Plan 2050 had indicated that this site would be a future Industrial area also.
The Urban Advisory was engaged to undertake market demand analysis (including community engagement), develop an urban design concept masterplan and prepare an economic impact assessment and social impact assessment for the development. These were to support a plan change application to enable future mixed use development on the site, including a retirement village and papakāinga-style living. This project needed to be completed within condensed timeframes required by the Provincial Growth Fund (1 year).
TUA worked closely with the tripartite group, planner and project managers to lead the development of the plan change proposal. Being responsive to new risks, information and insight developed through the project led to finding solutions to support the project outcomes.
Engagement with the tripartite group was ongoing, sharing insights during the process from engagement and analysis, to design, and getting consensus around how to respond to key development challenges, whether financial, social, physical or spatial.
Working in partnership with Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism, this process began with desktop research, early engagement with the community, mana whenua, and site visits to understand the parameters and outcomes sought from the development of the Racecourse site for the tripartite group, and for Dargaville. Collaborating with TUA’s team were other consultants and technical experts. Working in parallel with the cultural impact assessment process, we progressively developed iterations of the concept development plan, from a framework structure to an outline plan and masterplan (with bulk and location), and planning provisions related to urban design matters. Development opportunities and constraints, and cultural design integration opportunities were revealed throughout this process, and the project vision and key moves were spatially resolved in the design.
TUA carried out market demand analysis, and led in-depth early engagement with the community and key stakeholders. This enabled us to champion these insights throughout the project, in tripartite engagement and collaboration with other consultants, and the urban design concept development and plan provisions (e.g. civil engineering, geotechnical, planning).
TUA contributed to many and multiple parts of this project, parts that are often held by a group of consultants. This enabled us to effectively collaborate, provide integrated input to the wider project and ultimately, develop an appropriate and well-resolved urban design response for this site.
The Dargaville Racecourse plan change was lodged with Kaipara District Council early in 2022. TUA provided an Economic Impact Assessment (with Castalia Advisors and The Property Group), a Social Impact Assessment, Urban Design Assessment and Concept Design (with Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism) and Market Demand Analysis reports including engagement, housing survey, retirement focus groups and consultation. This evidence base will support the plan change Section 32 report, and also provide the Tripartite group with practical insight and guidance for future work related to this development. The initial brief for the Racecourse site development was not an easy proposition, given the rural context and mix of aspirations and activities. However, with consideration for the current and future challenges facing Dargaville, we have provided technical and design input to the plan change that could enable a wellbeing-focused, commercially feasible and well-functioning proposal, with appropriate mitigation for sensitivities and balance of priorities among stakeholders.
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