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Rural Allotment Sizes set to Double

By Anna Bensemann | Sep 06, 2021

Selwyn District Council notified the new Selwyn District Plan in early October with a wide range of changes to the planning provisions that apply across the district. One big change in the new look district plan is that it will increase the minimum allotment size for rural subdivisions in the western part of the Selwyn District.

Currently the Outer Plains zone applies to most of rural Selwyn west of Sandy Knolls, Rolleston and Lincoln, with the Inner Plains zone making up the rural land east of these areas closest to Christchurch City. The Outer Plains Zone has a minimum allotment size of 20 ha meaning you need at least 40 ha to create two allotments. The Inner Plains has a minimum allotment size of 4 ha meaning you needed 8 ha to create two allotments. While a more complicated resource consent could be applied for to go smaller, these minimum sizes were the general expectation for these areas.

Under the proposed Selwyn District Plan the Inner Plains area is still provided for with a minimum allotment size remaining at 4 ha, but a new Eastern Plains/ Western Plains division has been proposed. Those in the Western Plains are now proposed to be subject to a 40 ha minimum allotment size. While creating new lots under 40 ha will be possible under this new rule framework, the plan signals that anything less than the minimum will be met with strong resistance from Council and can be declined.

The Proposed Selwyn District Plan is open now for submissions until 11 December 2020. This short time frame gives little opportunity to fully understand the implications of changes to the planning provisions within the district. Council Plan decision makers will consider the submissions received in 2021 with the outcome of that resulting in provisions becoming operative. Those who might want to subdivide in the next ten years and could be affected by the new provisions should consider making a submission now. If no submissions on the proposed provisions are received, the provisions will be adopted in their current form with minimum allotment sizes in the western part of the district set to double in size.

So, if you own rural property in the western plains of the Selwyn District including around Sheffield, Glentunnel, Hororata, Dunsandel, or south to Rakaia Huts then you will be affected by the proposed rule changes.

The proposed rule changes will not come into effect until after submissions have been received and decision makers release their decisions. This could be a few years away as experienced in other districts, or it could be early next year. Alternatively, you could aim to beat the potential 40 ha minimum allotment size rules becoming operative and subdivide to the current 20 ha limits now in the western plains area or, if you want to go even smaller, now is the time to push for that resource consent to go below the minimum allotment size before the minimum gets a lot bigger.