1.4.6 Riverfront Development Design Guide Purpose

These design guidelines are developed to assist groups, landowners, developers, professionals and Council to prepare and assess applications for development within the Riverfront Overlay area as shown in Appendix 5 Figure 5-1.

This design guide applies to development within the Riverfront Overlay area, as shown in Appendix 5 Figure 5-1, and demonstrates how the area can evolve in a way which embraces the Waikato River as part of the Central City.

The existing river frontage in Hamilton is hidden from the Central City. There are a number of obvious connections between Victoria Street and the river’s edge and existing built form turns its back on the river. To encourage the establishment of such connections in the public’s favour, Council will, in line with the provisions for the Central City, provide incentives through additional height.

This area presents a major opportunity for Hamilton to create a premier public open space along the river’s edge, supported by safe and legible connections and attractive and sustainable built form. How to use the Design Guide

Applications for new buildings, including alterations and additions to existing buildings, within the Riverfront Overlay area as shown in Appendix 5 Figure 5-1 should provide an assessment against the guidance outlined within this Appendix. In particular, it is expected that the proposed design will promote the key design principles, either as shown within the indicative development concepts, or in another manner that achieves a comparable outcome. Background

a) Figure 1.4.6a illustrates the existing situation along the riverfront in Hamilton’s Central City. This shows sparse built form and an abundance of ‘dead space’ along the river’s edge, currently utilised for parking or ‘back of house’ services.

b) The existing open space along the river’s edge, (Soldiers Memorial Park and Jesmond Park to the East and Grantham Reserve and the area surrounding the Rowing Club to the west) provide green ‘book ends’ framing the river and providing strong potential for improved connections along the river front itself and across the river from west to east.

c) There are several ‘character’ and heritage buildings located along Victoria Street, and these have been highlighted in the plan. It is recommended that heritage buildings be preserved and enhanced with adjacent buildings sympathetic in scale, form and colour.

d) Building height ranges from 3-4m to 30m along the river’s edge, with higher buildings generally used as hotel and accommodation facilities. The form of the buildings ranges from small, narrow shop frontages to large format buildings such as the Casino.

e) There are several spaces between buildings (refer to Figure 1.4.6a) that could provide successful linkages from Victoria Street to the river’s edge.

f) Activation of these spaces is fundamental to ensuring use and safety. Existing connections to the river are provided down Sapper Moore-Jones Place, the Riff Raff reserve connection and Alma Street. Design Objectives

The following design objectives identify a future vision for Hamilton’s Riverfront (refer to Appendix 5 Central City Zone, Figure 5-1 Central City Zone Precinct Plan).

A riverfront promenade will develop over time, with initial public space along the river’s edge taking the form of ‘pocket parks’, as illustrated in Figure 1.4.6b.

Over time, new buildings will set back from the river’s edge, and some areas will be built out in front of existing buildings to create a continuous riverside promenade, refer Figure 1.4.6c.

Design Objective
A Public Riverfront
The​ riverfront will be developed as Hamilton’s premiere public space, providing opportunities for people to access and appreciate the Waikato River.
A Connected Riverfront
The riverfront will be safely and easily accessible from Victoria Street via streets and laneways. Additional pedestrian connections from the east side of the river will improve pedestrian connectivity not only to the river front, but also to the Central City.
An Active Riverfront
The riverfront will be an active public space, with buildings fronting on and opening out on to a riverside promenade.
​d)This area will be prime real estate, with high quality new development creating complete street blocks between the river and Victoria Street.
A Sustainable Riverfront
The riverfront will be sustainable. Built form will carefully consider daylighting principles to ensure that the buildings provide a pleasant environment both within the buildings themselves and also the public spaces which surround them and open out on to the river.
An Iconic Riverfront
The riverfront will be iconic – a destination within Hamilton, Waikato and New Zealand. A pedestrian bridge connecting west to east will be a feature, attracting people to the river’s edge. The materials, lighting and landscaping along the promenade will be of a high quality, reflecting the significance and beauty of the Waikato River. Design Principles

The following design principles provide guidance as to how the riverfront area should be developed over time to achieve the objectives listed above and the 2021 and 2041 vision (refer to 1.4.6b and 1.4.6c).
These design principles have informed District Plan rules and ensure riverfront development is appropriate and will not degrade or detract from this area of natural amenity.

Design Principles
Promenade and open space
As part of the development or redevelopment of any site adjoining the Waikato Riverbank area between London Street and Sapper Moore-Jones Place, provision shall be made for a conti​​nuous pedestrian promenade.
b) ​The minimum width of the promenade is 5m, providing adequate space for pedestrian and cycle access.
c) ​Open space in key locations (i.e. those identified within the medium and long term visions for the Riverfront) shall be provided with minimum dimensions of 15m in width alongside the promenade, to provide room for outdoor dining and other activities. Such space shall be accessible and appropriately designed and landscaped to achieve safe, attractive, comfortable space for use by patrons of restaurants, cafes and the general public.
​All public space, including the promenade, shall be designed in accordance with best practice CPTED principles.
​Height allowance will be in relation to provision of public space. Where significant public space is provided (in the form of promenade, public open space or similar, either connecting between Victoria Street and the Riverfront, or along the Riverfront) and gateway locations, additional height shall be provided for. Importantly, height will assist and enable the reading of the cityscape such that taller buildings will be associated with greater public accessibility to the Riverfront.
Built form
​Building set-backs, in addition to preserving general amenity values, will assist to preserve daylighting, human scale and openness of the proposed promenade (and reduce wind tunnelling effects). Buildings with boundaries adjoining the Riverbank Reserve Area will be required to have a minimum setback of 5m.
g) ​In relation to the setbacks from internal boundaries at upper levels (i.e. fourth level and above), assessment criteria will facilitate a more enabling approach to guide whether the proposal minimises shadowing and loss of natural light on existing adjacent buildings by providing adequate separation between the proposed and existing development.
h) ​Importantly, additional height allowance will be provided for where setbacks from boundaries provide for through-site links and public open space along the riverfront (refer to Figure 1.4.67d).
​Based on the height and built form principles, the preferred built form will be one of narrow buildings running perpendicular to the riverfront, providing for through-site links to the riverfront. Design Interventions

Figures 1.4.6b and 1.4.6c identify six medium term interventions for key areas or catalyst sites key to realising the design objectives for the Riverfront Area.

Area/Site Reference
Refer to Figu​res 1.4.6b and 1.4.6c
Design Interventions
Promote events and temporary activities within this space, drawing people to the river’s edge and keeping people engaged through its evolving and temporary nature.
Encourage the formalisation of laneways and through-site links into public spaces. Activate laneways through ground-floor activities, such as ‘hole-in-the-wall’ cafes and encourage upper levels to overlook these spaces to promote safety and CPTED principles.
Key Development Site 3 – Victoria on the River (refer to
Use streets connecting Victoria Street to the river’s edge as key pedestrian links and areas of public space. Open out views to the river at the end of these streets, where possible, and connect the end of the street with the upper-level promenade. Encourage active, ground-floor uses with buildings fronting on to these streets.
Encourage the development of the ‘Art Post’ site in line with some of the initiatives outlined as part of the City Heart project, with additional built form complementing the Waikato Museum and better embracing its riverfront location.
Encourage the continuation of an upper-level riverside promenade along the western river bank through walkways, built out from the river bank where necessary to connect ‘pocket parks’ or areas of public space along the riverfront.
Provide at least eight pocket parks at regular intervals along the upper level promenade, terminating at major through-links, to act as activity nodes along the promenade that will support and encourage walking and enjoyment of the river environment.

Figure 1.4.6a:
Existing Situation (2011) – An analysis of the existing riverfront, illustrating areas of vacant or underutilised space, age of buildings and potential connection
Figure 1.4.6b: Future Vision (2021) – Visual representation showing potential development along the riverfront at 2021, beginning with pockets of public spaces

Figure 1.4.6c: Future Vision (2041) – Visual representation showing potential development along the riverfront (including indicative development within Opoia) and a continuous pedestrian promenade


Figure 1.4.6d: Illustrating potential bonus height allowances when through-site linkages and public spaces are provided by development proposals along the riverfront


Page reviewed: 17 Mar 2016 1:27pm