Thames and Surrounds Spatial Plan Establishment Report This project was endorsed at the Council meeting on 12 May 2020. This Plan will help give direction into land use over the next 30-plus years for targeted areas within the Thames ward with the key deliverables being: Identifying areas for plan changes, Identifying design principles for some areas within the Thames ward, Identifying commercial feasibility for the potential to develop new or upgrade existing infrastructure. Last year our Council did a housing stocktake and commercial housing market viability assessment to gain a better understanding of the housing issues across the district. This highlighted that Thames is experiencing more significant housing market challenges than any other part of the district, where there have been price increases due to a shortage of housing which is exacerbated by the lack of new housing development. Furthermore, the commercially viability of development in Thames is stymied due to several factors including: 1. Greenfield development is constrained by topography and natural hazards2. Project viability is impacted by planning rules3. The lack of practical transport alternatives including public transport, walking and cycling4. The existing town centre does not inspire high density residential development5. There is an existing and growing need for smaller and more affordable homes6. Higher density housing development is untested. In the Spatial Plan, an indicative study area has also been identified between Thames town and Hikutaia village to the south through a high-level mapping investigation. The initial investigation recognises that this area presents some opportunities for urban development due to the accessibility and availability of developable land, access to current and potential services and the fact that there are numerous landowners indicating that they wish to develop their land in this locality. The work for the Spatial Plan is district funded out of the Economic Development budget. The next steps in the project will now be setting up stakeholder forums, which will help inform the Plan. You can read the full report here.