Low-rise Christchurch 'will provide more office space'

12:29 pm on 12 August 2011

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says he expects the draft plan to rebuild the city may provide more office space than before the earthquakes, despite a seven-storey building height limit.

The $2 billion plan being developed by Christchurch City Council to turn the quake-damaged CBD into a people-friendly, low-rise city will go out for public consultation on Tuesday.

Key elements include proposals for a light rail link, a new convention centre and sports complex, precincts for entertainment and culture and a green belt alongside the Avon River.

The draft plan proposes limit on the height of buildings of 29 metres, or seven storeys, in the core of the central city and lower limits of 21 metres on the fringes and 17 metres at the edge.

Mr Parker says the recommendation will prompt a reaction. "The community have clearly spoken and wanted a low-rise city and I would think that there will be a few property-owners who will take some time to come to terms with what that would mean."

However he says the outcome is likely to be more office space rather than less.

The plan also proposes an $8 million earthquake memorial.

'Business-friendly' proposals

The Christchurch Central City Business Association says businesses should be excited by the plan.

The association's manager, Paul Lonsdale, says it is especially pleasing that there will be adequate parking facilities and that free parking for two years is being suggested.

The association is, however, concerned about the proposed height restrictions.

Mr Lonsdale says introducing precincts for entertainment and culture is a good idea.

Fletcher Building says the ambitious plan will help boost the construction industry, while landscape architect and central city resident Di Lucas says greenbelt and planned public spaces are just what the city needs.

The draft plan goes for public consultation next week, before being presented to the Government at the end of the year.