Hamilton City Council is juggling the demands of holding on to industrial land, while opening up space for special housing areas.

Since June 2017, the council has approved several SHAs that, if consented, would together result in a loss of more than 60ha of industrially-zoned land to housing – Te Awa Lakes, Eagle Way (6ha) and Gilbass Ave (3.8ha).

A report prepared for the council showed the trend that industrial land was on a steep downward trend with total capacity of industrial land down from 697.4ha to approximately 630ha.

If approved, the proposed Special Housing Area (SHA) at Te Awa Lakes would mean the loss of 51ha of industrial-zoned land to housing in Te Rapa north.

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The Te Awa Lakes development led by Perry Group is expected to supply 1200 houses to the city.

Fonterra's Te Rapa site sits just over a kilometre away from the proposed development and earlier this year Fonterra complained to the council that Te Awa Lakes would compromise the site's current operation.

The new report, prepared by council staff, and presented at this month's full council meeting also said there was an "emerging proposal" for a SHA at Ruakura that could result in the loss of another 136ha of industrial land.

The report was requested by councillors as part of the SHA planning process to look at the impact on industrial land.

Ninety-six percent of the available capacity of Hamilton industrial land is in three locations: Te Rapa North, Te Rapa/Rotokauri and Ruakura.

The council unanimously passed a motion that further work will be undertaken on supply and demand for industrial land.

During council discussions, Mayor Andrew King had put up another motion which would have had the report look into planning over the next 100 years for Hamilton, but removed it after strong opposition from city council staff to not restrict their current investigation with another motion.

Councillor Dave Macpherson said he was disturbed by the process that was followed by council during the discussion, allowing executive director special projects Blair Bowcott to debate at the table.

"With all due respect to Blair, I think we had a member of management giving a speech in the debate against the motion, which then caused it to be withdrawn," Mr Macpherson said.

"The context for why we need industrial land is because some council back in 1989 approved no land around the back of the city, and the prior motion was trying to address that."

"We need to look at some of these other areas, and say where are we going to have people living in 100 years time.

"If we don't look at that we are not doing good planning."

Councillor Angela O'Leary said that the special housing approvals was another 'cart before the horse' move by the council.

"I am supportive of special housing areas, but they have all been in our industrial land so we were making a decision before we knew all the information so this is an unintended consequence here."

Councillor Garry Mallett said that he respected Mayor King's motion, but didn't want the process of planning for the next 100 years to slow down the work that needs to happen in the next 10 years.

"My position on this is not against what Andrew has tried to do.

"I just do not want that to slow down us trying to address the issue of our shortage of industrial land in the city," Mr Mallett said.