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Designations and outline plans

Ngā Tūranga me ngā mahere paetuhi

What is a designation?

Designations are areas of land set aside for network utilities or large public works:

  • roads
  • telecommunications facilities
  • schools
  • prisons.

They are also known as 'designated areas' and are identified in chapter K of the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Once a designation is in the plan, the proposed works can be carried out at any time.

The authority responsible does not have to comply with Unitary Plan rules, but they do need to notify us by submitting an outline plan of works.

For more information, visit the Ministry for the Environment website.

What is an outline plan of works?

An outline plan of works lets us know about proposed work on a designated site.

This work should comply with use of the site specified in the designation. For example, building a classroom on a site designated for the Ministry of Education.

If the structure does not comply with the specified use, the requiring authority (for example, Spark or Watercare) will need to get a resource consent from us, rather than follow the outline plan of works process.

Public input on an outline plan of works

There is no opportunity for the public to make submissions on an outline plan of works, except when we publicly notify the initial move to designate a site for a specific use.

What an outline plan of works needs to show

Outline plan of works must generally show:

  • the height, shape and bulk of the work
  • the location on the site
  • the finished contour of the site
  • vehicle access
  • provision for parking
  • proposed landscaping
  • any other matters required to avoid, remedy or mitigate adverse effects.

Apply for an outline plan of works


Apply now


Processing time for an outline plan of works

We need 20 working days to assess an outline plan and may request changes to be made by the requiring authority.

If that authority does not accept the changes, we may appeal to the Environment Court within 15 working days of being notified.


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