Three decades after officially joining our city, the Peacocke housing area is finally on its way to becoming Hamilton’s newest community.
The 720-hectare Peacocke area south of the city officially became part of Hamilton, from the Waipa district, in 1989. From the beginning, and with its close proximity to the city, it was tagged for new housing development.
However, the prohibitive cost of infrastructure needed to service a new suburb (roads, water, wastewater and stormwater) was a huge barrier. The city simply couldn’t afford to put the services in place which would allow the area to be opened up. As Hamilton further developed and other priorities pushed ahead, the advancement of Peacocke was put on hold.
That’s now changed. Over the past few years, Hamilton has seen unprecedented growth and that growth is set to continue. We are New Zealand’s fourth largest city behind Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and are well on our way to having in excess of 200,000 residents. Each week, around 23 new families move here.
By 2028, Hamilton will need enough serviced sections for 12,500 more homes; by 2038, we will need 31,900 more houses just to accommodate all those people who want to call Hamilton home.
That pressure, along with community support and critical financial assistance from the Government, has helped push Peacocke to the front of the housing development queue. In June last year, Hamilton City Council agreed to fast-track the development of Peacocke, making it the city’s primary growth area.
For the next 10 years, developing Peacocke into a new and vibrant community will be one of the city’s top priorities.
More than a suburb
It will take around 30 years for Peacocke to be fully developed. While the first lot of pipes, roads and the new bridge may not be in place until 2023, there are already 400 homes in the east section of Peacocke near Dixon Rd. Interest in Peacocke from property developers and others is already high. By December 2018, Hamilton City Council had already received sub-division consent applications for more than 850 new homes. Further infrastructure investment will be needed, in the years beyond our 10-Year Plan, for Peacocke to reach it’s full potential.
Based on current growth projections there is likely to be around 3750 homes in the Peacocke development area within the next 10 years. With the next 30 years, Peacocke is expected to have more than 8000 houses and be home to around 20,000 Hamiltonians.
The scale of development in Peacocke can’t, and shouldn’t, be done by the Council alone. We are building strong partnerships with Iwi, Government, NZ Transport Agency, Ministry of Education, Department of Conservation and developers to plan ahead and create a great community.
The Peacocke development is far more than simply bricks and mortar – it’s about building and nurturing a vibrant and sustainable new community. The Council wants to develop Peacocke as a series of connected city neighbourhoods, a place where residents and their families can enjoy their home and their sense of place within our city.
Creating that strong community will start with the natural environment. Peacocke is already home to native and exotic plants, native birds, fish, lizards and other wildlife including the critically endangered Long Tail Bat (pekapeka-to-roa). While Peacocke is 720 hectares, only 620 hectares will be developed. The remaining 100 hectares, much of it in river bank or part of Hamilton’s outstanding gully system, will remain either in its natural state or be enhanced.
The development will also include an archaeological reserve in the south-eastern corner with a strong visual connection to the Nukuhau Paa.
Community facilities, including the creation of recreational spaces, will also be key. Peacocke is close to the city and the land includes 4.5km of Waikato River frontage. That easy access to the river means the land has always been significant to Maaori, who traditionally used the area to grow kumara and the river to trade. Today, the close proximity to the central city offers real potential for cycling and walking routes as well as other recreational opportunities.
South Hamilton also has a well-established library (Hillcrest Library) and swimming complex (Gallagher Aquatic Centre) which were planned to support even more people living in the area.
Easy car and bus access to the city and surrounding towns will also be key and roading links in and out of Peacocke are an integral part of planning. While Peacocke has been on the back burner for some time, planning for new roads within and around Hamilton has always taken Peacocke into account. New road access into Peacocke is already underway and will transform the way (and time) people living in the southern suburbs can get to the Ring Road and Waikato University. As part of the wider plans to service Peacocke, a new four-lane bridge across the Waikato River south of Hamilton Gardens is planned with a potential completion date of 2023.
Peacocke will also be serviced by the Southern Links, the state highway and local arterial road network to the south of the city.
Government and community support
The change in Peacocke’s status – from a potential development languishing for lack of funds, to the city’s growth priority – didn’t come easily.
In October 2016, the Government announced a new $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) for high-growth centres like Hamilton. The HIF aimed to help pay for the infrastructure necessary to open up large new areas for housing – areas just like Peacocke.
The Council submitted three proposals and was successful in securing funding for its largest area, Peacocke. The city secured $290.4 million from the HIF. Of that, $180.3 million was a 10-year, interest-free loan. The remaining $110.1 million was a subsidy from the NZ Transport Agency.
Most of the development of Peacocke in the next 10 Years – around 90% – will be paid for by development contributions and NZ Transport Agency subsidies. Development contributions, paid by property developers, help fund key infrastructure needed for any new housing development and are a tool used by all councils to help fund growth. The remaining 10% will be paid for via rates.
Community support for putting the infrastructure in place to develop Peacocke was also important. During its long-term planning process, the Council sought feedback on the city’s desire to make the Peacocke growth cell the city’s top growth priority. Of those who gave feedback on growth, 73% wanted to see Peacocke developed.
Thirty years after the Peacocke vision was born, a new community is finally on its way.
To find out more about Peacocke, go to hamilton.govt.nz/peacocke