Plans are afoot for a massive land development in Whangarei which will include more than 500 homes to cater for the region's population boom.

The Whangarei District Council last year approved the Port Nikau Environment Master Plan submitted by Port Nikau Joint Venture Partners, co-owned by Tony and Clare Davies-Colley, spread over 88 hectares on Port Rd.

Next in the process is to create "precinct plans" for the area, which will include mixed use, residential, commercial, marine, industrial, town centre, open space and road reserve.

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If the plans are approved, the developers will then have to apply for resource or building consents for the different projects developed in the precinct under the master plan, in the Port Nikau environment. The environment was created in 2010.

Mrs Davies-Colley said the first project under the master plan was the construction of up to 520 residential properties over 59-acres of land back from the waterfront.

Port Nikau Joint Venture Partners will apply for the necessary consents sometime this year and develop the infrastructure - including either widening Port Rd or constructing a link road to the development - before partnering with building companies to undertake the home construction.

She said it was too early to say how much residential properties would cost or the type of market the developers would be eyeing.

"There'll be a mixture of houses, including traditional standalone houses, townhouses and apartments. We'd start with the construction of traditional houses until we get a bit of a momentum to develop other types of houses as demand increases.''

A small number of retail outlets were also planned in the residential development that will have mostly two to three-bedroom houses initially.

"At this point we're developing the land so it's capable of being used to build houses.

"How that's rolled out will depend on building partners but it's a big development which won't be done all at once," she said.

Each residential property will have a freehold title. It could take up to 15 years for the entire development at the former Northland Port Corporation site to be completed, she said.

Evidence on the potential economic effects on central Whangarei was presented to the council before the plan change to Port Nikau Environment in the District Plan in 2010.

It was accepted that Port Nikau's position was compatible with the CBD as opposed to being in direct competition with it, the council concluded.

"The objective of the Port Nikau Environment specifically provide for mixed use development, providing employment-based, commercial, retail, and other land uses and a range of residential housing types and styles," according to a WDC assessment report.

The district council determined public notification was not needed as any adverse effects from granting the consent to the master plan would be less than minor.

According to a technical report prepared by Auckland-based Precision Planning, Port Nikau is envisaged to become Whangarei's inspired urban waterfront community, designed for the future and offered a new way of living, with high-quality waterfront residential accommodation and commercial opportunities.

The report also looked at, among other things, traffic flow and said the developers have an option of either upgrading Port Rd to four lanes or constructing a new Port Nikau Link Rd, both at their expense.

It said Port Rd would also need to be widened to allow for a painted flush median to ensure turning manoeuvres did not affect traffic flow.

Further development of the Port Nikau site would continue after the first precinct is consented.