Construction of state houses on part of a Whangārei recreational park will start next year, Housing New Zealand says.

Officials from Housing New Zealand met with Puriri Park Rd residents last month to discuss progress and at this stage, no decision has been made on a specific design or layout of the state houses.

When designs are finalised, another round of public consultation will take place and a project start date will be decided.

The government agency bought part of Puriri Park in June from the Ministry of Education and the land is zoned as residential, which means houses can be built on it.

Advertisement

Angry residents criticised the government department over a lack of consultation but Housing NZ said it would engage with residents once, and if, land purchase contracts were signed.

"The development process involves finalising our design internally, submitting the design to Whangarei District Council for the necessary resource and building consents and tendering for the earthworks and construction contracts, so we expect it will be well into 2019 before building begins," a Housing NZ spokesman said.

Save Puriri Park steering committee spokesman Trevor Reader confirmed a meeting took place last month and said Housing NZ representatives gave residents good information, although it wasn't what they wanted to hear.

He said residents have exhausted all avenues after consulting the WDC, NZ Transport Agency and the Department of Conservation to try and stop the land sale.

"The only positive is for us to be able to have an input into the style and number of houses that will go up so we'll be watching carefully what Housing New Zealand puts in its resource consent application."

Reader said each house should occupy a minimum of 500sq m of land and that residents would oppose if that size was reduced in order to build more houses.

In June just after Housing NZ bought the land, more than 300 people, mostly locals, with some extended family members from as far away as Hamilton, packed into Barge Park at Maunu for a public meeting about the future of Puriri Park.

Residents are concerned the new development would lead to a loss of a green space, "unsavoury" behaviour and the devaluation of properties in the area.

Apart from the Puriri Park development, the government will make 180 extra state houses available in Northland over four years under its Public Housing Plan.

There will be 105 in Whangārei, 65 in the Far North and 10 in Kaitaia.