Upper Hutt City Southern Growth Area – Silverstream – Pinehaven Hills

Looking toward Silverstream and the harbour

In 1989 Upper Hutt City Council (UHCC) purchased the 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 Land (35ha) in exchange for GTC land consisting of 132.5ha on Pinehaven and Silverstream Hills.

Within this page are the various reports and presentations that have been commissioned over time going back to the original Memo that went up 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 Strategy, Tiaki Taiao Significant Natural Areas, Plan 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 website, Upper Hutt Forest and Bird Branch websiteSave our Hills Facebook page 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)


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)

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, the sale of this land cannot be described as imminent.

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

Yes, before Council could approve the sale of any surplus Council land they would need to consult with the community under the Significance and Engagement Policy because a decision to sell this land owned by Upper Hutt City Council (UHCC) is Significant under that Policy and therefore the public must be consulted. 

There is not anything to consult on yet because the Council is still negotiating with a potential purchaser and the community can be assured that due process will be followed.

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

The process for disposing of Council owned land will require a report to go before Council setting out the reasons why and options for Councillors to consider.  In this particular case there could be a range of options for Council to consider, and these could be:

a)  As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UHCC-Guildford Timber Company (GTC) conduct a land exchange to enable residential development of parts of the Spur and GTC Land.

b)  Sell the Council land on the commercial market to a property developer to enable residential development of parts of the Spur and GTC land, or

c)  Maintain the status quo and retain the Spur land in public ownership.

If after considering the report Council agreed to progress the matter in line with either of the first two options above, they would then approve the consultation plan that would enable the community to have their say on the proposed options.  It is only after the consultation process has concluded and Council has considered all the submissions that Council would formally decide on the issue.

Why is 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. This could be used for much needed housing and would be accessed from Kiln Street. 

The importance of the 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 on both parcels of land could achieve between 1,000-1,500 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 development of GTC land would require a Plan Change to occur. The plan change process requires public consultation whereby the public as a whole and more particularly the Upper Hutt community have an opportunity to submit and present their views at a hearing.

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

Yes, it would be premature for the Council to consult with the public now on any planned development because the Council has not received a subdivision resource consent application.

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 it would be publically notified.

What is the benefit to the Upper Hutt community with a land exchange?

Under the Land Exchange MOU, UHCC would exchange the Spur land of up to a maximum of 35ha and receive in exchange 132ha of land that is predominantly a Significant Natural Area (SNA) under the Resource Management Act and would become a public ecological reserve.  In time it could be developed to enable passive recreational activities like walking and mountain biking.

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, of the total 35ha of land it is estimated that only 22ha has the potential to be developed due to the slope of the terrain and the proposed SNA.  The remaining 13ha would remain in in its current state and would most likely see the pine trees felled and native trees planted in their place. This land would provide the ecological corridor that is keenly sought by the community.

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 SNA.  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 requires 5,600 new dwellings out to 2047 and currently 3,500 can be catered for (which includes the Southern Growth Area) leaving a deficit of 2,100 still to be found. 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.
  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.