Council, 12 March 2020
Roads are first and foremost for the movement and connection of people through walking, cycling and in vehicles by the community at large, and only by exception will the Council consider applications for structures on, over or under roads, as set out in this policy. The primary consideration is that the overarching functions of the road are not compromised now or in the future.
Permitting structures on, over or under roads can contribute to a more flexible approach to building design that adds to the character of the city. This policy presents a pragmatic approach to address the functional and service requirements generated by the public or individuals.
“Road” is land vested to the Council as defined in s315 of the Local Government Act 1974. This policy equally applies to both formed and unformed (paper) legal road.
The purpose of this policy is to enable the Council to control the private use of public roads, including the airspace and subsoil of the roads:
The policy applies to private non-habitable structures encroaching on, under or over roads. The Policy outlines the principles applying to most structures dealt with by the Council. If there is any doubt about a proposed structure on the road please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Habitable structures, boat sheds and other storage structures (other than garages) are excluded from this policy.
In applying this policy the primary purpose of the Council’s roading network remains paramount; to provide network efficiency, capacity and personal safety now and in the future.
Application forms are available on the Christchurch City Council website including an online option. The application form sets out the information needed to accompany each application (including a scaled plan) and how to submit it.
Applications for structures on roads will be considered on a case by case basis. The Council may require modifications to the applicant’s proposal, and these will be discussed with the applicant before a decision is made.
An approval (including a lease or licence) given under this policy only authorises occupation of the road. Other consents (e.g. resource and building consents) may be required. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure they have all the relevant permissions and consents.
The terms and conditions may include (without limitation):
If the Council declines an application, we will provide reasons for the refusal in writing.
Licence or Lease
The Council (as the road controlling authority) can lease the legal road airspace and subsoil, providing it does not impede the passage of pedestrians and vehicles. However, the Council cannot lease the surface of the legal road. The Council does not normally issue leases for structures in the road’s airspace or subsoil; a deed of licence is sufficient authorisation.
If approval is given the Council will determine whether it will issue a lease or licence.
Council as a Territorial Authority
The Council in its capacity as a territorial authority is required to carry out its statutory functions under the Resource Management Act 1991, the Building Act 2004, the Local Government Acts 1974 and 2002, and its Bylaws. The granting by the Council of any permission or consent under those Acts or the Council’s Bylaws will not of itself be deemed an approval by the Council under this Policy. The Council must exercise its powers, including 3|Page any discretionary powers and duties, under those Acts and its Bylaws without regard to any application made, or approval given under this Policy.
Fees and charges are set out in the Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges, which is available on the Council’s website. The fees and charges are revised on an annual basis.
The application fee is non-refundable. The applicant must pay the fee and supply all the required documentation before the application will be considered.
The Council reserves the right to charge a market rent for all commercial activities on a road. The rent will be set at a level that reflects the location to ensure that businesses located solely on private property are not unfairly disadvantaged.
Verandahs provide protection to pedestrians in adverse weather conditions for retail/commercial areas.
Verandahs are normally required in commercial/retail areas in the central City and suburban locations and should be cantilevered off the building.
In addition to the general principles the following apply when the Council considers an application for a verandah:
Architectural features on buildings can extend over the road airspace. Examples include balconies, oriel windows, egress facilities and building service plants.
Previous bylaws and building standards permitted the use of airspace over roads for these types of architectural features. This has led to some interesting building facades that form the streetscape.
This policy permits minor intrusions to the airspace of roads to create some flexibility for building owners in their building designs, the placement of building plants and services attached to buildings, for structural strengthening of buildings, re-cladding of buildings and any other minor modifications of buildings.
A minor intrusion into the airspace of roads for these features will have insignificant implications for road users, but any intrusions will require the input of the Council’s Urban Design Panel, or other formally recognised advisory design panels or committees.
The architectural features must:
The Council will not generally grant rights to airspace above roads for the sole purpose of creating additional floor space (overbuilding) unless exceptional circumstances apply and at the Council’s absolute discretion.
Air bridges can provide a more direct link or choice of routes between buildings, for example carpark buildings, or places of interest. They can be useful as elevated walkways to divert pedestrians in areas of high pedestrian traffic without detrimentally affecting the vitality of existing activities on the road.
A proposed overbuilding or air bridge must:
In addition to the general principles the following apply when the Council considers an application under this part of the Policy:
(a) the design and location of the structure must not cause excessive shading at road level, or block light and views from adjoining buildings;
(b) If there are already other over buildings or air bridges close by, building further structures will not have an adverse cumulative effect.
(c) the overbuilding must not cause damage to roading infrastructure if there is building movement caused from base isolation foundations during a significant seismic event, for example to light columns, traffic signal poles, wires, street trees, bus stops, etc.
For air bridges:
(d) the air bridge structure must be capable of being joined to the host buildings in an architecturally sympathetic way.
(e) the alignment and location of the structure will not detract from views nor compromise the basic grid layout and urban form of the Central City and the general openness of the road system.
(f) The design and location of the structure, specifically its height above an active road, should not compromise the passage of large vehicles and over-dimension vehicles if on that network. Normally air bridges will not be permitted over any route on the over-dimension network.
In the post-earthquake environment developers and landowners are utilising base isolation foundations to meet the revised requirements of the Building Code. This method is being used particularly in the Central City. Base isolation foundations allow a building to move in accordance with the waves created by an earthquake, but uses technology that dampens and decelerates the actual tremors and therefore are more likely to reduce the risks of injury, damage and building failure.
Depending on the construction methodology and the District Plan rules, base isolation foundations may need to extend into the public road subsoil to accommodate the zone of movement, and occasionally the elements of the foundations themselves.
In addition to the general principles, the following apply when the Council considers an application under this part of the Policy:
Privately owned tunnels can provide a more direct link or choice of routes between buildings, for example carpark buildings, related facilities severed by a busy road, or places of interest. They can be useful to divert pedestrians or move goods without detrimentally affecting existing activities on the road.
Privately owned underpasses in rural areas provided for stock control and movement are considered privately owned tunnels.
In addition to the general principles, following apply when the Council considers an application under this part of the Policy:
Requests to build structures retaining land for access reasons often arise from property owners in the hill suburbs and Banks Peninsula where the terrain is steep and difficult. Retaining structures may also be needed to protect properties and the road from landslips and other natural hazards.
Anchors for private retaining walls that may need to encroach into the road land subsoil. Approval will be given providing the anchors are at least 2.5 metres below the road surface and are not in conflict with the assessment criteria.
For the assessment criteria see 6.2 below.
Requests to build structures for access, and parking often arise from property owners in the hill suburbs and Banks Peninsula where the terrain is steep and difficult.
Property owners have a legal right of access onto the road. The majority of these properties were created prior to 1974 when vehicle access to properties was not required for subdivisions.
A number of properties have exclusive use of parcels of legal roads for carports, garages, parking platforms, access ramps and cable-car stations. While having significant advantages for private occupiers, these built structures enable residential developments in difficult terrain and help to ease on-road parking pressures on limited road space.
Any proposal (6.1 or 6.2) will need to meet the following criteria:
For new and existing structures:
Retro-fitted exoskeletal structures are being used to meet the updated requirements of the Building Code for earthquake strengthening on existing buildings. This engineering method is mostly used on commercial buildings in the Central City where the building footprint extends to the edge of the private property, meaning legal road space is required for the additional structure.
Exoskeletal structures provide an external steel cage to wrap an existing building that avoids more expensive solutions such base isolated foundations or internal steel bracing. External bracing also ensures that the loss of leasable floor space is minimised.
The provision of bracing pillars and ground anchors in the legal road should not impede road users, particularly pedestrians, or other street infrastructure.
Essential service structures assist in facilitating the provision of water, waste collective, facilities for sustainable transport modes.
These structures include:
In addition to the general principles the following apply when the Council considers an application under this part of the Policy:
In the event of concerns arising from existing structures, the structure will be assessed in terms of (a), (b), and (c) above.
Note: There are existing public utility infrastructures on roads, including telecommunication, electricity, gas, three waters and postal services. The placing and maintenance of such infrastructure is determined by statutory powers, exercised in consultation with the Council.
A non-exhaustive list of other structures that may be permitted on, above or under the legal road include:
In addition to the general principles the following apply when the Council considers an application under this part of the policy:
[Note: The shifting of an existing letter box necessitated by a new entrance is the responsibility of the owner].
Decision making authority under this Policy set out in the Register of Delegations is to be exercised as follows:
The delegations will be reviewed by the Council from time to time. Applicants are advised to check the current version of the Council’s Register of Delegations.
Notwithstanding anything else this Policy only applies to applications received after the date of adoption of this Policy by the Council (“the Operative Date”). Structures on Roads applications received prior to the Operative Date will continue to be dealt with under the previous Structures on Roads Policy 2010, which continues to apply for that purpose.
For the purpose of this policy:
|Air bridge||A structure providing a pedestrian and/or vehicle link.|
|Anchors||Devices that fasten a retaining wall into adjacent subsoil and/or rock for greater stability and strength.|
|Building consent||As defined in section 49 of the Building Act 2004.|
|Cable car stations||A station serving a cable car for goods and people.|
|Carport, garage, parking platform||A structure used for parking a motor vehicle.|
|Electric vehicle charging structure||A utility structure primarily used for recharging light electric road user charges (gross laden weight 3.5 tonnes or less) whose motive power is derived wholly or partly from an external source of electricity.|
|Exoskeletal structure||A retro fitted external skeletal structure for earthquake strengthening an existing building which is anchored into the subsoil.|
|Non-habitable structure||A structure not authorised for living purposes.|
|Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 (HWSA)||This act may apply and applicants should seek legal advice in the event of any works on the legal road.|
|Information bollards||A bollard installed by the Council to provide visitor information for the City.|
|Overbuilding||A structure which extends into the airspace over a road and includes enclosed balconies.|
|Permission||An approval issued by the Council under the Public Places Bylaw 2018 and in accordance with this policy.|
A bollard installed by a private company contracted by the Council to:
|Resource consent||As defined in section 87 of the Resource Management Act 1991.|
The whole of any land vested in the Council for the purpose of a road and includes accessways and service lanes as defined in section 315 of the Local Government Act 1974. (A road includes the whole width of the road reserve, including areas used by vehicles, pedestrians and for amenity value). It includes:
|Retaining structures||Structural walls supporting, driveways, walking tracks and steps (with or without anchors).|
|Seismic movement trench||Any in-ground structure (self-supporting) for the purpose of creating a seismic isolation void to enable the movement of a building or it’s framing to move within during a seismic event.|
|Tunnel||A structure in the road’s subsoil that conveys vehicles, pedestrians, cables or pipes for private use.|
|Verandahs||Structures suspended or cantilevered from buildings generally built on the road boundary over the legal road reserve (usually footpath) and includes canopies, sun blinds and awnings.|
Local Government Act 1974 s.334, 341 & 344
Health & Safety at Work Act 2015
Public Places Bylaw 2018
Traffic & Parking Bylaw 2017
Stock on Roads Bylaw 2017
Structures on Roads
12 March 2020
Date of most recent review
Replaces Structures on Roads Policy 2010 amended 2014 and 2016
Team Leader Asset Planning Transport