Amberley’s growing pains: Is a bypass needed?

Could Amberley be the next North Canterbury town to build a bypass?

Planning for growth . . . Residents have had their say on the future of the Hurunui district’s...
Planning for growth . . . Residents have had their say on the future of the Hurunui district’s south ward, including Amberley. Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News [LDR single use only]
While the Woodend Bypass looks set to finally be built after decades of planning, residents have suggested a heavy vehicle bypass should be included in the Hurunui District Council’s south ward spatial plan.

State Highway 1 cuts through the towns of Woodend and Amberley, north of Christchurch.

The council received 41 submissions during its recent consultation, with several suggesting solutions to address safety concerns on Carters Road, as the town continues to grow.

One submitter called on the council to ‘‘push the Government to start planning’’ a bypass and to ‘‘start drawing some lines on a map to show options of where this could be located’’.

Another submitter wanted a pedestrian overbridge on Carters Road and suggested the council seek out ‘‘philanthropic investors’’.

With housing growth planned for east Amberley, a second primary school was proposed to alleviate safety concerns for children crossing Carters Road to get to Amberley School.

There were mixed views on whether the council should apply to Environment Canterbury for public transport provision.

Several submitters supported the idea, while some wanted the beach communities included and others questioned whether it was necessary.

South Ward Committee chairperson Jo Hassall said there have been a variety of views expressed on the subject of a bypass.

‘‘I know a couple of people have said ‘why isn’t it on the table?’

‘‘But others have said ‘why would you, because it would take traffic away from the businesses’.’’

Hassall said she was unsure a bus service would be financially viable.

‘‘It would need to be available when people need it, otherwise it wouldn’t be viable.

‘‘There is already a community bus service which is available and it is great for older people who don’t drive.’’

She said people moved to places like Leithfield and the beach communities for the lifestyle and they were used to driving themselves to Rangiora and Christchurch, with many commuting to work.

In a report to last week’s South Ward Committee meeting, the council’s planning team leader, Nicola Kirby, said staff had liaised with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency, which advised an Amberley bypass was ‘‘not a current priority’’.

But a resource consent was granted earlier this year for a truck stop at the Grays Road / State Highway 1 intersection.

‘‘If this development occurs it may have implications for heavy vehicle movements which will need to be further considered,’’ she said.

The council had proposed zoning land next to Grays Road in west Amberley for industrial use.

But residents raised concerns about the noise, outlook and the impact on property values.

Staff were now considering land between Lawcocks and Grays Road, to the west of the Kowai River north branch, Kirby said.


■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.