A damning independent review has found the Christchurch City Council botched the $40 million development of new planning rules for the city.
The independent review, by Peter Winder and Tanya Perrott finds fault with the council’s development of the Replacement District Plan (RDP). It concludes the council has “not produced an effective plan” for the Government-appointed independent hearings panel (IHP) to consider.
Council boss Karleen Edwards has responded by hiring two consultants to oversee the final stages of the process.
Winder and Perrott’s 30-page report, released exclusively to The Press, outlines a series of misjudgments made by council staff. It talks of a “culture of exclusion” whereby even councillors were largely shut out of the process and left feeling disenfranchised.
I wonder whether other Councils are much better?
Winder and Perrott’s report says council staff misjudged what the IHP and government ministers required. They largely prepared the first wave of chapters without any input from elected councillors.
In the absence of an explicit strategic approach agreed by elected members, some staff “assumptions” drove the process.
“Some of these have proved to be questionable,” their report said.
In many Councils town planning staff are incredibly powerful. Their individual preferences can have the force of law.