How resource consent applications are managed, when neighbours or the wider community can get involved, and how decisions are made.

If someone wants to build something or do something that doesn’t meet all the rules in the Christchurch District Plan(external link), formal approval is needed. This approval is called a resource consent(external link).  

The Resource Management Act provides several opportunities for public involvement in the resource consent process:

  • A person applying for a resource consent can ask neighbours for written approval if the proposal may have adverse effects on them or their property.
  • If there are adverse effects on neighbours and they have not given approval, an application can be limited notified to neighbours. The neighbours can then make a submission and attend a hearing to explain their views or concerns.
  • If an application is publicly notified because the effects are more widespread, anyone can make a submission on it and attend a hearing to explain their views or concerns.
  • A submitter on a notified application can lodge an appeal with the Environment Court if they disagree with the Council’s decision. In some cases, other people can join the appeal process.

Neighbours or other members of the community are not able to be involved in deciding the level of notification required.

If you have questions or would like more information about a particular resource consent application or decision, contact our Resource Consents Unit(external link).

If you have questions about the notified application process or getting approvals from neighbours for your project, you can contact our duty planner by emailing

For more specific advice on whether your project is likely to be notified we recommend that you engage an experienced professional, for example, a planning consultant or solicitor.

The resource consent process


A resource consent application is received and assessed

We analyse the application and its likely effects on people and the environment. We may ask for more information.

We must consider:

  • Christchurch District Plan rules for the type of activity and the zoning of the property.
  • Resource Management Act requirements.
  • Whether any neighbours have given written approval to the application.

Notification decision

The required level of public involvement is decided

This decision is usually referred to as the notification decision. It is made by a council hearings panel, commissioner or senior staff, depending on the type of application. 

The decision-makers consider:

  • Whether any neighbours or other people are adversely affected and need to be involved in the application.
  • Whether wider public input is needed.

There are three possible outcomes to this decision:

  • Non-notified: If no one is considered to be adversely affected, or all the directly affected neighbours have given their written approval(external link).
  • Limited notified: If there are neighbours who are directly affected and they have not given approval. Those neighbours are sent a copy and can make a submission stating their opinion of the application.
  • Publicly notified: If an application is likely to have wider or greater effects on people or the environment. The application is advertised in the newspaper and on our website(external link), a sign is put up on the property, and directly affected neighbours are sent a copy of the application. Anyone can make a submission and be involved in this type of application.

Most of the applications we process meet the criteria for non-notification. 

We must follow specific Resource Management Act requirements when making this decision. The test for whether someone is affected is whether the application has effects on them that are at least minor.  When we’re deciding this we have to look at what sort of development the District Plan allows on the property, and the specific matters the plan says must be considered for the rules that are not complied with. 

The Resource Management Act doesn’t enable the applicant, the neighbours or the community to have a say in the decision on what level of notification is required. The only way to object in this case is to apply to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision.

Hearing (if needed)

A public hearing may be held

Limited and publicly notified applications are heard and decided by a council hearings panel or a commissioner. The applicant, submitters and council staff all present their information and answer any questions.

Hearings(external link) are open to the public, but only people who made a submission are allowed to participate. If no submissions are received or submitters don’t want to be heard, a hearing may not be needed.


A decision is made to grant or decline consent

The final decision is made by a commissioner, a hearings panel, or senior staff, depending on the complexity of the application and whether there was a hearing. If consent is granted, this is usually subject to conditions to make sure the adverse effects are acceptable.

The decision is based on the requirements of the District Plan and the Resource Management Act It is recorded in writing, including the conditions and reasons for the decision. If the application was notified, a copy is sent to all submitters.

Submitters and/or the applicant can appeal the decision to the Environment Court if they disagree with it. 

Councillors and community board members are not usually involved in making resource consent decisions.

Elected members may be involved if they’re on a hearings panel appointed to decide a specific application.  

A hearings panel is made up of an independent commissioner and two elected members who are accredited by the Ministry for the Environment for resource-consent decision making.

The Ministry for the Environment has helpful guides on how people can get involved in the resource consent process, and information for those affected:

If you have concerns or would like more information about a particular resource consent application or decision please contact us, and we’ll get back to you.