Upper Hutt Southern Growth Area

Looking toward Silverstream and the harbour


In 1989 Upper Hutt City Council (UHCC) purchased 35 hectares of land from Landcorp now known as the Silverstream Spur. 

The original intent of the purchase as stated in the Council Memo was “Part of the land may have a potential for development as residential sections, although a change of zoning would be required before any such development could proceed…the land is best suited to passive reserve uses…”. The land was subsequently re-zoned in the mid-1990s to a mix of 16.5 ha Rural Hill Zone and 18.5ha Residential Conservation Zone. 

In 2016, UHCC and Guildford Timber Company (GTC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to the Land Exchange of the Silverstream Spur (35ha) in exchange for GTC land consisting of 132.5ha on the Pinehaven and Silverstream Hills. 

This page contains the various reports and presentations that have been commissioned over time, going back to the original Memo that went to UHCC seeking approval to purchase the land in November 1989. However, at a Council meeting in September 2021, Councillors agreed to the conclusion of the MoU with GTC, and the end to discussions about a land swap or sale of land on the Silverstream Spur. 

Recent updates

MOU conclusion and next steps - September 2021

On Wednesday 22 September, Councillors met at an Extraordinary Council Meeting to discuss and agree the Guildford Timber Company MoU conclusion and further steps in relation to the Southern Growth Area. 

Council agreed to the Chief Executive sending a letter to GTC formalising the conclusion of the MoU (Conclusion of MOU and related matters(PDF, 39KB)), and ending discussions with GTC about a land swap or sale of land on the Silverstream Spur. The link to the paper can be found here: Agenda Extraordinary Council 22 September 2021(PDF, 17MB)

Any future development proposal for the Southern Growth Area and the Silverstream Spur for the construction of a road and infrastructure corridor, will be subject to the ordinary Resource Management Act processes like a plan change followed by a resource consent(s), but may only be a resource consent in some circumstances. This process will involve a public consultation process. 

Council officers will continue to meet with GTC to continue planning for the future development of the Southern Growth Area and development of a road/infrastructure corridor across the Silverstream Spur as part of Council’s responsibility to plan for growth.  

Infrastructure Acceleration Fund - August 2021

On Tuesday 17 August, Councillors met at an Extraordinary Council Meeting to discuss and agree the Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund. 

Due to the commercial sensitivities contained within the applications, the paper was covered in the Public Excluded section of the meeting. 

There were four applications under consideration - Cannon Point Totara Park, St Patrick’s College Silverstream, Silverstream Spur Road/Infrastructure Corridor, and Trentham Racecourse.  

Council agreed to support the four applications to be submitted to the EOI process. One of their key considerations was that even if an application is selected, it will have to go through a detailed Request for Proposal process. If selected through that process, further Council decision making processes would need to be followed under the Resource Management Act and within the next 2024-34 Long Term Plan process and both would require public consultation. 

It’s important to note that making an application to the Government's IAF is no guarantee of future work commencing. There are expected to have been numerous applications made to the EOI, similar to what happened for the ‘Shovel-ready fund’. 

If an application is selected it will have to go through another checkpoint of detailed application process. If selected through that process, further Council decision making processes will need to be followed.  


Below are the various reports and presentations that have been commissioned over time, going back to the original Memo that went to UHCC seeking approval to purchase the land in November 1989.  

The reports and presentations cover areas such as: GTC Framework Document, GTC Land Swap Proposal, the signed MoU, Ecological reports, Significant Natural Areas study, Landscape Study, National Policy Statement on Urban Development and presentation on the Government policy on the Resource Management Act.

This page should also be read in combination with other UHCC pages such as; Land Use StrategyTiaki Taiao Significant Natural AreasPlan Change 42 and Plan Change 50 as they are all relevant to the Southern Growth Area.

Those who wish to conduct further research on this subject should look up the information that is provided on the GTC Silverstream Forest websiteUpper Hutt Forest and Bird Branch website, and Silver Stream Railway website.

UHCC Land Swap/Purchase Documents

1989 Council Memo(PDF, 805KB)

2014 BECA report on disposal(PDF, 3MB)

2016 MOU between UHCC and GTC(PDF, 3MB)

2016 Report to Council MoU(PDF, 1MB)

Meetings between UHCC and GTC since 2018(PDF, 103KB)

Questions for workshop: Planning for Growth(PDF, 69KB)

2021 Conclusion of MOU and related matters(PDF, 39KB)


Guildford Timber Company Reporting and Media

2007 Guildford framework document(PDF, 6MB)

2015 Guildford land swap discussion document(PDF, 8MB)

2020 Revised reserve boundary(PDF, 4MB)


Associated Technical Reporting

2015 Boffa Miskell Ecological Values Assessment(PDF, 2MB)

2015 Samcon - Silverstream Reserve Residential Development Potential(PDF, 16MB)

2019 Victoria Uni & Forest and Bird – Identifying Ecological Corridors for the Manu Metropolis(PDF, 4MB)

Housing and Business Development Capacity Assessment


Associated Plan Change Material

1994 Meeting of the judicial committee(PDF, 1MB)

2018 Recommended Decision on Plan Change 42(PDF, 3MB)

2018 DRAFT Wildlands Probable Significant Natural Areas(PDF, 62MB)

2018 [Isthmus] Strategic Landscape Study 2018(PDF, 11MB)

2020 Wildlands Spur presentation(PDF, 1MB)

2020 MFE Presentation on National Direction on the RMA(PDF, 4MB)

UHCC Flood Hazard User Guide(PDF, 7MB)

About the National Policy Statement on Urban Development | mfe.govt.nz

Notice of Requirement for Pinehaven Stream


Frequently Asked Questions

Is the sale of the UHCC Spur land imminent?

No, as a result of decisions made by Council on 22 September 2021 (referred above) the sale of this the Silverstream Spur land is no longer being considered. 

Will the Council be consulting with the community prior to any sale of the Spur land?

As a result of decisions made by Council on 22 September 2021 (referred above) the sale of this land is no longer being considered by Council, and therefore there is no need to consult with the community on the sale of this land.  

What is the process that council must follow to sell Council land?

As a result of decisions made by Council on 22 September 2021, Council is no longer considering the sale of the Silverstream Spur land. 

The process for disposing of any Council owned land would require a report to go before Council setting out the reasons why and options for Councillors to consider.   

Why was the Spur Land being considered for sale?

The land in question known as the Silverstream Spur or “Spur” consists of approx. 35ha of which, the developable space is estimated to be up to 22ha. Currently half of the spur is zoned on the Councils District Plan as Residential Conservation, which means that it can be developed with section sizes varying from 750m2 to 900m2 and would be subject to Resource Management Act processes. 

The importance of the Silverstream Spur land is that it unlocks access to the GTC land. That is the GTC land that borders the Spur land to the East and runs West to East up to Avro Road above Pinehaven from the West, the Spur provides a shorter and easier access route.  

This GTC land is important because it could be re-zoned residential for a future housing development and the total yield could achieve between 1,000-1,600 dwellings. 

This entire area is known on UHCC Land Use Strategy and Wellington Regional Growth Framework Spatial Plan as the “Southern Growth Area” and has been annotated as a strategic growth area for the Wellington region. 

If the land is planned to be developed what is the processes that must be followed?

Any future residential development of GTC land and the Silverstream Spur for the construction of a road/infrastructure corridor would require either Council or GTC to initiate a Plan Change process under the Resource Management Act. The plan change process requires public consultation whereby the public would have an opportunity to submit and present their views at a hearing. 

It would be premature for the Council to consult with the public now on any plan change because Council and GTC have not yet initiated this work, and no formal proposal has been received. 

Will a resource consent be required for any planned development on the Spur and GTC land and will that be open to public consultation?

If and when a Resource Consent application is lodged, the Council will follow the process mandated under the Resource Management Act, and under that process public notification must be formally considered and determined. 

Will the Upper Hutt community lose a valuable natural asset and will the native flora and fauna be impacted if UHCC sells the Spur Land?

No, as a result of decisions made by Council on 22 September 2021, referred above the sale of this land is no longer being considered by Council. 

Potentially 2.5ha could be set aside, but remaining under Council ownership for the construction of a road/infrastructure corridor linking Kiln St to the Southern Growth Area.  The remaining 32.5ha would also remain in Council ownership and would most likely be enhanced over time with the felling of the pine trees and replaced with native trees planted in their place. This land could also be set aside as a public reserve and ecological corridor.  

How much land would be set aside as recreational or reserve land on the hill?

All of us here in Upper Hutt pride ourselves on our natural environment which can be used for recreational purposes by all of the community and as the stewards of that land the Council would continue to protect and enhance the area.  

Of the total area of land owned by UHCC and GTC along the Silverstream and Pinehaven hills, only 30% has been identified as having the potential for development and therefore the remaining 70% would be retained in its current natural state.  

A large part of this land has been identified as a Significant Natural Area. This land could be further enhanced over time with the ongoing planting of native trees and the development of walking and cycling trails. 

Why is planning for growth and freeing up this land so important?

On current projections Upper Hutt will grow by approx. 24,000 people and require approx. 10,400 new dwellings out to 2051. The potential for any development along the Southern Growth Area would enable much needed housing to be developed that is sympathetic to the environment and cater for the planned growth in Upper Hutt and wider region and it would provide for the following: 

  1. A green belt and an ecological corridor for bird-life and public access. Up to 70% of the land would be retained in its current natural state and over time enhanced further to enable public access. A large portion of this land has been identified as a SNA. 

  2. Sequestering NZ carbon emissions using native trees rather than exotic pine. Up to 70% of the land would be retained in its current natural state and could be enhanced further over time with the removal of exotic pine and the planting of native trees to enable this. 

  3. Reducing water run-off from the hills and the flood risk in the valleys below. This is mandatory under the UHCC District Plan. The recent Plan Change 42 was the means to enable this and it is very clear that all future developments within Upper Hutt must have hydraulic neutrality by reducing current levels of stormwater runoff in the Pinehaven Catchment. 

  4. Preserving the character of the city and environment. With less than 30% of the hills having the potential to be developed this characteristic would be retained.