District Planning Information


Public works and some private projects or works are provided for under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) by way of designation. A designation is a provision in a District Plan which provides notice to the community that a requiring authority intends to use the land in the future for a particular work or project.

The effect of designating land is to authorise the use of that land for a particular work (for example a school, police station or electricity substation) and is outlined in section 176 of the RMA. Once a designation is in place it takes precedence over the zoning of the land, but it can only be used for the purpose for which it has been designated. Without the prior written consent of the requiring authority, other people are unable to do anything in relation to the designated land that would impede the designated activity.

Notices of Requirement

A Notice of Requirement is essentially an application for a Designation. Only a Requiring Authority (Minister of the Crown, Local Authority or approved Network Utility Operator) can give Notice of Requirement for a Designation. The Notice of Requirement can be submitted to the Territorial Authority (i.e. Council), the Environmental Protection Authority or the Environment Court. The Notice of Requirement is processed largely in the same manner as a Resource Consent, including the decision whether to publicly notify the notice. However, the Territorial Authority does not make the final decision (as with a Resource Consent), but makes a recommendation to the Requiring Authority as to whether it should be confirmed, modified or withdrawn. The Requiring Authority then decides whether to accept or reject the recommendation. The decision can be appealed to the Environment Court by the Territorial Authority or any submitter.

The Requiring Authority responsible for the Designation may do anything that is in accordance with the Designation. No person may do anything which would prevent the work to which the Designation relates without written consent of the Requiring Authority.

A Requiring Authority can apply to the Minister of Lands to have the effected land compulsorily acquired under the Public Works Act 1981. Affected landowners can also apply to the Environment Court for an order that the Requiring Authority purchase the land under the Public Works Act.

As soon as a Requiring Authority submits a Notice of Requirement for a Designation, a person cannot do anything which would prevent or hinder the work until the requirement is withdrawn, cancelled or included in the District Plan.

Outline Plans

If you are doing a project on a designated site, an Outline Plan of the works will be required. The Outline Plan only applies to sites that have been designated by a requiring authority under section 168 of the RMA.

Outline Plans are only required where a structure is being built on a designated site (for example a classroom being built on a site designated by the Ministry of Education). Section 176A of the RMA details what is required when making an application for an Outline Plan.

Outline Plan are intended to show the Council any changes that are occurring on the site and whether they comply with the designated purpose and/or the District Plan provisions. An Outline Plan generally takes 20 working days to process unless the Council requests changes. The requiring authority (the agency that has submitted the Outline Plan) must respond to the Council's requests.


The deposit fees payable for Designations are listed here. Additional fees may be occurred and will be invoiced at cost, the additional fees are charged at the rates specified in Table Two of the fee schedule.

The lodgement fee will be required to accompany the application. An invoice will be sent for additional fees. The lodgement fee is a deposit only and may not be the complete charge. There may be additional fees or a part refund as explained above.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021