Thresher Associates Ltd was requested by Resource Management and Assessment Ltd to undertake an evaluation of the potential landscape and visual effects of a proposed subdivision at Taurikura, Whangarei Heads.
The assessment of landscape effects in this context is primarily concerned with effects on rural character and coastal amenity values. The site is located in a valued coastal area with rural character but is also within an existing settlement area proposed for change - zoned for countryside living development.
The methodology used to assess visual effects involved looking at the physical catchment and character that would be exposed to visual change, the nature of the audience who would experience that change, and the scale, type and intensity of change.
The subdivision plan provides for a variety of lot sizes designed in response to the site and environment, using an approach that is consistent with catchment management. Accordingly, the majority of the lots have been clustered in the southern part of the site, close to existing residential areas and/or at lower elevations. The larger area to the south west is also perceptually separated from the remainder of the property by reserve areas. The larger lots are located on the elevated and more modified part of the site that gains access off Ody Road. Larger lots are also incorporated to create a buffer between the smaller more intensive lots and the protected Outstanding Landscape Area.
While the proposed subdivision would involve a change of land use with an evident change of landscape character, the essential qualities of the wider landscape would remain. The bushclad hills and sea would remain as dominant elements of the landscape and the open space character of the site would be protected, with views through to rural pasture behind the development. The subdivision would result in physical change to the existing landscape although this would not inevitably lead to a loss of quality of that landscape, and may be anticipated in the environment. The proposed development type and pattern would be similar to other development in the area and would be undertaken in stages.