Hawke's Bay council want to change to housing rules to cope with influx of seasonal workers

A Hawke's Bay council is looking to change its district plan to allow for more seasonal worker housing, as the region gears up for an expected escalation in horticulture activity.

Regional seasonal employers have told Hastings District Council that with the expected increase in horticultural production, current seasonal worker numbers could double by 2022.

A change to the Hastings District Plan is being proposed to allow for extra accommodation for workers.

Titled "Variation 7 - Seasonal Workers Accommodation", the change would allow for seasonal worker accommodation to be built in the light industrial and general industrial zones at Omahu and Irongate.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said as well as providing worker accommodation, it would also relieve pressure on the overall rental housing stock in the region.

"Council has done a lot of work to try and balance the accommodation needs of the primary production industry, which is such an important driver of our economy, and the general housing needs of our people," she said.

"This is one initial solution that aids both, with the expectation that the purpose-built RSE accommodation will relieve some of the pressure on the rental housing market," said Hazlehurst.

The buildings would require a certain level of outdoor open space per resident around them for undertaking recreation activities, comply with noise limits and the buildings would be relocatable to enable industrial use of the site once the accommodation facilities were no longer required.

The proposed variation has been publicly notified and the public has until 5pm on Friday, September 27 to submit feedback.