Submission to New Plymouth District Council on Shaping our Future Together-May 2015
We applaud Councils initiative in seeking to develop a really long term view on the shape of our community. The resultant report will provide excellent guidance for landowners, businesses and the sporting sector to plan for their own futures where that depends upon the availability of suitably zoned land.
Given that TENs raison d’etre is to represent the horse community, our focus in this submission will be on how equestrians see the shape of the New Plymouth District in the next 30 years.
The reason Council should consider our suggestions seriously is that these proposals will most definitely bring significant economic and social benefits to the District. One only needs to look at ‘equestrian’ developments around New Zealand to see that where Councils have got behind the ‘equestrian concept’, they are reaping the benefits-high rate take, increased employment and increased visitor numbers.
Primarily what TEN would like to see is-
The identification of ‘equestrian’ areas on the periphery of our towns and city for future lifestyle block development;
The identification of ‘horsey’ roads in the District to assist planning ( signage, bridle trails etc.);
The creation of bridle path linkages through these areas and from these roads to reserve land, beaches, and paper roads to create local riding opportunities;
A commitment to the concept of sharing cycling and walking paths with equestrians where the terrain is appropriate;
A change in current rural road grading practices which are systematically destroying riding areas on the periphery of our towns and city;
Addressing the ‘ribbon’ development which is currently occurring on the periphery of our towns and city.
See ‘Summary’ on page 9 for where we suggest the lifestyle lots and primary bridle trails be located. Inserting these into the Blueprint will confidently bring growth and talent to the district and support New Plymouth as a destination for both visitors and future residents.
Future ‘equestrian’ lifestyle block areas.
The value of equestrian productivity (export values of breeding horses, commercial value of the racehorse industry, the domestic value of horse keeping and training) should be recognised by the New Plymouth District Council. Encouraging the development of equestrian lifestyle blocks and areas on the periphery of our city and towns will enhance the migration of people here and provide jobs for equine industry people as well as builders, fencers, fertiliser companies, earth moving companies and so it goes on.
The annual spend of the equestrian community in the Taranaki area is $56 million per annum. This excludes the racing industry. Most of this money is spent locally on horse feed, horse goods, farriers, vets, therapists, coaches, fuel, fencing, fertilizer and the like. That sum does not include money spent to purchase land or vehicles or other infrastructure costs. It is driven by the 5000 horses that live in this province.(see ‘Sport Horse Industry Worth $1Billion per annum’ and ‘Economic Impact of Horses in Taranaki’-at end of submission)
In order to limit the demand for public access for horses all over the district, it would be better to concentrate equestrian areas in places where horses already exist or can be accommodated, and where bridle trails can be formed. Of course ownership of such land would not be legally restricted to equestrians but equestrians would naturally be encouraged to purchase by the presence of bridle paths that flow through and from those properties.
To view the obvious benefits of such equestrian areas on the outskirts of New Zealand cities, one only needs to turn inland off SH1 at Levin, Otaki, or Waikanae, or Matamata to name a few examples. What is added to the productive value of these regions can be seen in the high value hedging, planting, fencing, farm buildings ,riding arenas and housing…high land values and high improvements values. That infrastructure is built and maintained by local businesses. We would like to work with Council to further explain the benefits of supporting equestrians.
Council is invited to consider what has been developed at Minden, Western Bay of Plenty by way of Lifestyle Zones. Rather than having, say, four access ways off a rural road, there is one access way into 4 lifestyle properties. The houses are clustered loosely together with their acreage essentially behind and around them. A bridleway or shared trail for walkers and cyclists is built through these blocks and is designed to link up with the same network on the adjoining cluster of houses. This arrangement minimises the visual impact of continuous housing along rural roads and has obvious financial benefits for developers due to only having to provide utilities to one point on a subdivision.
Creation of equestrian farms\ lifestyle lots by subdivision does not necessarily require 10 acre or 4 ha lots. Lot sizes down to 4 acres are very attractive to horse owners. Flat to easy rolling land is optimal.
Looking to the future and the increasing sophistication of our industry, we note that core equine businesses tend to cluster, and require enabling land use policies that allow for a multitude of activities happening on site, such as:
On-site staff accommodation. Many significant training facilities require staff to be onsite 24 hours 7days per week. The security of the premises and the horses is paramount, with for example the value of a quality stallion in excess of $20m;
On-site training facilities for staff;
Tourism activities such as a café;
On site employment hubs such as farrier, dentistry, physio, etc.;
More intensive land use that enables training facilities to operate as a hub with trainers owning land that is located on the training site and as such are able to share facilities such as a training track, horse walkers, etc.;
Protection from reverse sensitivity issues by having clear criteria for resource consents, and inclusion of equine businesses in unitary plans as permitted activities.
Therefore insightful planning should enable these types of activities to occur.
New Plymouths economy is highly bound to the success of the equine sector. Therefore Council needs to provide an integrated and connected road, walkway and reserve network to include bridleways. This is how equestrians will be attracted to the district. New comers and visitors to our district are surprised and disappointed by the lack of places to ride at present.
2. Identification of ‘horsey’ roads in the District.
To assist Council to shape the future to better accommodate the equestrian community, we have identified certain roads as having an existing significant horse population. We asked farriers and vets to give us feedback as well as the riders on our database. Roads we currently know about are…
Veale Road, Ridgewood Drive, McGiven Drive, Freeth Drive, Hadley Drive and Eva Road- (high value/high decile community-very horsey)
Smart Road, Carrington Road, Frankley Road, Mangorei Road.
Upland Road, Ninia Road, Te Arei Road.
Egmont Road (from Egmont Village to Mountain).
Kaipikari Road- (currently 17 riders living there)
Wairau /Surrey Hill Road ,Weld Road ,AhuAhu Road ,Timaru Road and Greenwood Road-Oakura (both these areas too many riders to count).
Tate Road, Brown Road, Pennington Road, Waitara Road.
Lower Timaru Road, Pitone Road (upper and lower), Dover Road, Okato township(Carthew, Old South and Cumming Sts), Kaihihi Road, Wiremu Road, Hampton Road, Newel Road and State Highway 45.
Our recent research says however that there are horses on all New Plymouth District roads.
We have 8 horse vets and 6 farriers locally. What other sport can say that it directly supports that many businesses not to mention the 2 dedicated horse shops plus the feed shops- RD1 and Farmlands?
3. The creation of bridle path linkages through these areas and from these roads to reserve land, beaches, and paper roads.
To identify these is not a matter of ‘one-off’ submission; it is a matter of discussion. It is a matter of council officers identifying rural and semi-rural areas that are intended for future development and consulting in the early stages with TEN about how to attract high value occupancy in a planned instead of ad hoc manner to our district.
Equestrians need local bridle trails they can access from where they live for ordinary exercise activity (that’s why gradual graded local rural roads are so important) and ‘destination’ bridle trails for variety and recreation/social activity.
4. A commitment to the concept of sharing cycling and walking paths with equestrians where the terrain is appropriate.
Much is currently made of cycling and walking paths but there continues to be little reference to the horse community (the exception is the Open Space Strategy where recognition of horses has been much appreciated).
It is possible for trails to be shared in appropriate places – see Hyde Park in London – a delightful merger of intense recreational users.
Horse footing is far less costly than footing for walkers and cyclists and can easily go alongside walking trails with judicious planting or boulder placement to indicate the respective uses.
Development contributions for subdivisions can be used for creating these areas.
Development contributions of reserves or recreation facilities should be considered in the context of recreation that may be lost due to subdivision also i.e. equestrian recreation is often dependent upon the permission of large landowners. As these large farms are subdivided, this recreation is lost forever. In addition, the increased road traffic created through subdivision also impacts on the ability of horse riders to safely use rural roads.
Bridleways\greenways should be considered an alternative to development contributions of reserves. Small reserves frequently provided as development contributions are often of limited use for recreation, and do little except to enhance the land values of those living within the subdivision.
Subdivision on the other hand can (and often does) have significant negative impacts on the lifestyle and recreation options available to horse owners and equestrians in the vicinity.
Rural amenity and reverse sensitivity issues can be mitigated or addressed through the use of development contributions of bridleways\greenways (public) around all edges of a subdivision. Providing a natural (grass and vegetation) strip of 10-12 metres provides recreation for walkers, horse riders, dog owners (and potentially cyclists) as well as providing a visual barrier, and separation barrier between lifestyle\subdivision dwellers and existing rural properties.
In the long term, this also creates a network of bridleways\greenways if additional subdivisions are permitted in the same area (and planning ensures that the boundary bridleways meet).
Other New Zealand District Councils have attempted to address reverse sensitivity issues with by-laws. Using the mechanism of creating distance between neighbours (e.g. creating rules around how far from boundaries items such as silage pits etc. can be) promotes the likelihood of harmony between neighbours.
Perimeter bridleways (shared rural trails of natural surfaces) will provide:
-an extra margin between existing rural blocks and new developments to mitigate reverse sensitivity issues;
-new recreation spaces at no cost to the Council;
-linkages between old and new development areas (or rural and non-rural)
-rural amenity (views, recreation etc.).
These bridleways should be natural surfaces – grass or fine grade metal, and ideally planted with tree scapes or hedging to provide screening\rural amenity. This will reduce the implementation costs, and maintenance requirements on-going.
Many other councils in New Zealand have developed land use plans to attract and encourage the horse community. Taupo, Marlborough and Waikato to name but a few.
Council is invited to consider Plan Change 32 in the current Auckland District Plan that lays out Clevedon as a 'village' and equestrian area.
http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/DistrictRegionalPlans/manukaucitydistrictplan/planchanges/Pages/planchange32.aspx. Go to Design Guide at bottom of screen for images of what this can look like.
The Western Bay of Plenty District Council identified Minden as being full of horses and so created special rules in the plan for growth and development in this area. It has encouraged/promoted horse owners to this location.
5. A change in current rural road grading practices which are systematically destroying riding areas on the periphery of our towns and city.
TEN has submitted previously on this point. Roadsides are graded between 6 and 12% which makes them difficult to use by horses and pedestrians. In addition it eliminates a safe area for vehicles and other road users in the event of potential collision. If grading was reduced to 3%, road maintenance would be unaffected and other road users would be accommodated. This needs to be addressed on an urgent basis.
7.Addressing the ‘ribbon’ development which is currently occurring on the periphery of our towns and city.
At present rural land subdivision would appear to be progressing on an ad hoc basis. Each farmer seems to subdivide off roadside acreage to the extent they can without thought being given to ‘the bigger picture’. The result appears to be many small lots/houses on the rural road verges with the farmland almost blocked off behind them. This creates a cluttered effect instead of retaining and promoting a spacious green outlook to properties on the edge of our towns and city.
Waiwhakaiho River Corridor for recreation?
Finally, TEN questions the concept of the ‘Waiwhakaiho River Corridor’ as “an opportunity for recreational opportunities”. How does Council propose to create pathways alongside it when it is obvious that ,especially within the city boundaries (high use area) it swings from cliffs on one side to cliffs on the other? One can only imagine Council will require adjoining landowners on the ‘cliff side’ to provide private land for pathways that veer significantly inland in order to provide a useable gradient for recreation. The community will require council to paint a picture of how this could work and at what cost before committing to the idea of a recreation corridor on that river.
The Taranaki equestrian community , whether it be hunting, endurance, showjumping, trekking, games or pony club travels all over the country nearly year round to participate in equestrian sport and recreation. We see what is being done to support our sport by Councils in other areas and are therefore very aware of the deficits in our district.
Like all sportspeople, we talk to each other across the nation and internationally. We have equestrians here in the New Plymouth district that compete on the world stage. New Plymouth by land and climate is a fantastic place to own horses and we want to spread that concept by being proud of the facilities we have.
We would love to boast to our equestrian friends that our council is firmly recognizing our contribution to the district by supporting our needs in its district planning. Recent improved consultation through communication with TEN has been very pleasing so the seeds have already been sown .But we see such exciting long term benefits for the district if council could just demonstrate its further support by enacting the ideas above and in 3 further very tangible ways-
A lifestyle block subdivision out Oakura way linked to a bridle trail along the Oakura River Corridor or along the Kaitake Ranges and down through Lucy’s Gully to Ahu Ahu Road, for example;
A lifestyle block subdivision somewhere in north New Plymouth linked to a bridle trail; and
Opening up Hickford Park as a ‘Farm Park’ (see Whareroa Farm Park in Wellington by way of example) to allow equestrian families to pursue recreation together and allow locals and visitors the opportunity to experience our famous rural lifestyle right on the city doorstep. This would really be the ‘icing on the cake’, and show the world what diverse, vibrant and amazing opportunities are possible so close to the heart of our incredible city.
TEN welcomes further dialogue with you because the possibilities are endless and the concepts are large and exciting.
Taranaki Equestrian Network
c/- 264 Smart Road,
R D 2
New Plymouth 4372
’Sport Horse Industry worth $1billion’-Stuff 7/11/2012
The sport horse industry in New Zealand is worth more than $1 billion annually, according to a University of Waikato student's study.
Masters of Business Administration student Alex Matheson has performed what is one of the first investigations into the size and scope of the sport horse industry in New Zealand.
A graduate of the agricultural and horse-industry based Marcus Oldham College in Australia, Alex decided to undertake the study after finding there was no information available on the collective economic impact of the industry.
Sport horses are defined as all horses that are not being used for racing or breeding horses for the purpose of racing.
"I wanted to get a better understanding of the sport horse industry in New Zealand. The actual size of this sector of the industry is not widely known and before this has not been studied collectively."
He carried out an online survey of more than 150 participants, asking questions about everything from the grazing costs for their horses, transportation, vet bills and more.
Of the estimated 80,000 sport horses in New Zealand, the average total annual spend per horse was $12,500, meaning the sport horse industry is worth more than $1 billion or 0.5 per cent of New Zealand's annual GDP.
Sports Horse Industry worth $56 million to Taranaki Economy
Number of Horses in Taranaki
Agribase research – 80,ooo sport horses in NZ ( excludes 40,000 racehorses ).
Divided amongst 16 provinces = 5000 horses in Taranaki. Real numbers likely to be higher as Taranaki a rural based economy, good horse country, good climate. ( Plus, on same analysis, approx. 2500 racehorses.)
Taranaki Equestrian Network research – average of 4 horses per owner as shown in 2011 Taranaki-based research survey. Most surveyed had 1 or 2 horses ; several have 30-40 horses ;10 respondents had between 10 and 20 horses. In all, 230 respondents had 842 horses.
Number of Riders in Taranaki
SPARC (Sport and Recreation) Survey (based on 2001 census figures).
“The highest proportions of young people who participate in equestrian sports are in the Taranaki ,Wanganui and Manawatu (5.0%) and Counties Manukau (4.8%) Regional Sports Trust areas. SPARC figures estimate 3,300 young people in Taranaki, Wanganui and Manawatu participate in equestrian sport”.
Therefore in Taranaki alone, at least 1,100 young people participate in equestrian sport.
‘ Young’ defined as 5 – 17 years old. Anecdotal evidence suggests that when people over 18 are included in the figures, the number of riders would, at minimum, double that figure ie 2,200 riders/owners.
Taranaki Equestrian Network research – The combined membership of 17 Taranaki horse clubs is 1356 people. There is some duplication of membership between horse clubs but it would not be significant. The corollary to this is that there are many horse owners who do not belong to any horse club at all.
Average annual cost per horse ( therefore dollars primarily spent in local economy )
NZ Horse Recreation Survey –in Central North Island-average $11,200 per annum (excluding large capital expenses)
Then go to Equine Statistical Data,then Economic Impacts and ‘more on economic value’.
Overall Impact -5000 horses in Taranaki x $11,200 per horse = $56 m p.a.
(These figures exclude the Taranaki racing industry which by its own figures contributes over $20m per annum to the local economy.)