Church to appeal building decision

The Exclusive Brethren church is heading to the Environment Court next week to appeal a decision not to let it build a large chapel in Hingaia.

The Papakura Gospel Hall Trust's plan to build a chapel with space for 950 people on Park Estate Rd was rejected at an Auckland Council hearings panel in March last year.

Neighbours had objected, saying the chapel would not fit the area's rural outlook and would create excessive noise, traffic and visual pollution.

The area has a future urban zoning, meaning houses will eventually be built there and the hearings panel decided that residents had the right to expect peace and quiet on their rural road until then.

But the council and the Government have since announced the area is part of a new special housing area, which will speed up the pace of development.

It's understood the Environment Court will hear the proposal "de novo", or on its original merits, rather than as a review of the hearings panel's decision.

Despite those changes Park Estate Rd resident Steve Ellery says neighbours will still be attending the hearing in support of the original decision.

"Residential development is not the same as an industrial-sized gospel hall so we still plan to be at the Environment Court," he says. The hearing starts on Monday.

Papakura Courier