banner image

Making an Application

​You will need to apply to Council for a land use or subdivision resource consent if:

  • the proposed activity or structure does not fully comply with all the relevant rules in the District Plan
  • you want to subdivide land or buildings for separate ownership

How do I apply?

Resource Consent

The Resource Management Act outlines the process of obtaining a resource consent.

NOTE: Please ensure you use the correct form for the type of application you are making. For further advice or information please contact or call 03 3077700.

Subdivision Consent

Applications for subdivisions can be complicated, this is why we require accurate and detailed plans. We strongly recommended that you enlist the services of a qualified surveyor to help prepare your application and plans.

The process of obtaining a resource consent is set out in the Resource Management Act. You must complete an application form and provide all the relevant information before the Council can approve an application and grant a consent.

  • A detailed report describing how the District Plan rules will be met and how any adverse effects that may be caused by the subdivision will be mitigated
  • An appropriately scaled subdivision plan/ scheme plan showing all relevant information including but not ​limited to:
    • the position of all new boundaries
    • the net area of all new allotments
    • the location and areas of new reserves to be created
    • the position of existing and proposed easements​
  • A recent copy of the title for the land in the application. This can be requested from Land Information New Zealand.
  • Important note: If you are proposing to vest (transfer) land to Council as part of your application, or if your proposal affects Council land, it is very important that you speak to Council staff before you submit your application. ADC must comply with a number of regulations, acts, policies and bylaws outside of the Resource Management Act and in some situations the Council may need to make separate decisions on your proposal which will affect whether it can happen, even if we grant your resource consent.​

Subdivision Approval Stages

A subdivision consent is implemented in three stages:

By email

By post Ashburton District Council
PO Box 94
Ashburton 7740
New Zealand

Drop it off at the Council office
Ashburton District Council
5 Baring Square West

How we assess your application

Confirming receipt

When your application is received, you will receive confirmation from the Council with an official receipt letter and a reference number.

Checking for completeness

After we've received your application , our staff check it for completeness. To ensure your application is accepted and  processed quickly, please ensure you have provided all the necessary information. If an application lacks detail, plans are not provided or affected party approval has not obtained Council may return your application.  If we do this we will usually send you a letter explaining why it was rejected, however, any refund will be less our cost in checking the application.

Assessing your application

Once we have accepted your application for processing a consents planner will assess it.  If they have questions about your application, they will send you a further information request. This is also called a Section 92 request, and delays the processing of your application.

The Council may need to commission a report from an expert on some aspect of your application. You will be notified before the report is commissioned. This would be at your cost and you may agree or refuse to have the report done. If you refuse, the planner will continue assessing your application.

As part of the assessment, the planner will also visit the site.

Making recommendations

The Planning Officer will inspect your site and prepare a report that recommends whether it will be processed as non-notified or notified and whether or not your application should be approved or refused. The final decision is then made by a review panel consisting of senior Council staff.

Our FAQ's provide the answers to most common questions about resource consents including how long they last, how they are monitored and when they can be changed.

Barrhill Village Design Guidance

The Barrhill Village just out of Rakaia has a historic character which is unique in the District and because of this, the District Plan has some special rules and controls to ensure that development preserves and enhances that character. To help people who are intending to buy or do work within the settlement, the Council has prepared an informal design guidance document which provides some history of the settlement and the design features that we will be looking for in resource consent applications.

​Latest News

Changes to the Resource Management Act 1991 came into effect on 18 October 2017. These formed part of the Resource Management Amendment Bill.

There are several changes that affect Resource consents and related processes including certain situations where you might be able to apply for an exemption from resource consent for certain activities known as permitted boundary exemptions and temporary and minor non compliances.

A boundary exemption is where there is a setback or certain other part of your development which breaches of the District Plan and you have managed to get the affected party approval of your neighbour. Note: you will need a special version of the affected party approval form which is available here.

A temporary or minor non compliance is where you do breach a rule of the District Plan but it is so minor that it basically doesn’t have any effect on anyone, this is subject to the discretion of the Council. It is suggested that you contact before applying if you think you might be eligible.

More information on the changes can be found here.

Information from the Ministry for the Environment

The Ministry for the Environment has a number of useful documents and links on its website to help people learn about the Resource Management Act and resource consents, including advice for people wanting to apply, submit or appeal consents. You can find this information here.

Other consents / approvals

You may need consent or approval from other parts of Ashburton District Council or from other agencies because
a resource consent from Council doesn't cover or override other legislation. Some common forms of consent are
as follows:

  • Environment Canterbury (ECan) resource consents (e.g. if you need to put in a septic tank or drill a bore) - Sometimes it is more efficient for Council and ECan consents to be processed together;
  • Building Consent from Council (if you are building or altering an existing structure);
  • Food or alcohol licences (e.g. if you are wanting to open a restaurant, a shop, or are producing food).

Consultation with Iwi​

Te Runanga o Arowhenua has mana whenua (demonstrated authority) over the Ashburton District and applicants should consider whether the Runanga would be interested in their proposal, particularly (but not necessarily) if it involves water rivers/lakes/wetlands and coastal areas or works which might affect indigenous vegetation.

Aoraki Environmental Consultancy Ltd are the Primary contact for correspondence with Te Runanga o Arowhenua. 
Please contact or phone 03 684 8723.

  • If the work you want to do will affect an archaeological site (anywhere that was associated with pre-1900 human activity), you will need to get an Archaeological Authority from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga before you begin work on the site.
  • Some properties and sites are covenants and other legal restrictions which might restrict what you can do even if you get resource consent. These matters can include:
  • Covenants on a title restricting what can be built and/or requiring approval from someone, such as the developer.
  • Restrictions by a "body corporate" or management structure on what can be done on a site in common ownership.
  • Easements or rights of way where someone has rights over your property that you are not allowed to block or build over.

It is safest to check these out before you apply for your consent, because it might mean that your project needs to be changed or may incur delays and additional costs. You may want to check with your lawyer if you are unsure whether any of these apply to you.

We suggest that you talk with your neighbours and explain what you want to do and why, even if you don't think what you are proposing will matter or affect them. We find that neighbours who are uninformed can get concerned when they think that something might affect them or their property. Although your neighbour might not be happy about what you want to do, they will almost always appreciate you taking the time to talk with them about your plans.