Castle expansion plan worries neighbours
The owners of a Tirau castle are planning an expansion into events, but some neighbours say they'll be the ones under seige from noise and traffic if it goes ahead.
Owners Pamela and Kelvin Baker put The Castle Pamela on the market two years ago, but now it seems they have spotted new potential for Tirau's landmark.
The landmark boasts a toy and doll museum but the couple applied for a resource consent with the South Waikato District Council to host various events, some of which would have alcohol served.
The application suggested events would cater to large crowds of up to 300 during the day and 150 at night.
But neighbours were far from happy.
The council received five submissions opposing the upgrade, four from residents who live within 100 metres of the castle.
A hearing held at the council chambers on Friday brought one submitter to tears.
Kathryn Berryman said she could not cope with more traffic.
"I just want it to be over with and move on,"she said.
Berryman said she was partly deaf but even without her hearing aids, the vibrations of traffic disturbed her.
Submitters also voiced concerns over disorderly behaviour fuelled by alcohol. Neighbour Sally Greed feared an events centre could become host to "extreme" events including rock concerts and clay bird shooting.
"They appear to have the support of many but not all," she said.
Dianne Harris lives one road away from State Highway 1 but said it was not the traffic that worried her. "I'm used to it [traffic] but I don't think I'll get used to screeching and yelling and amplified music," she said.
Environmental health manager John Anderson said noise complaints between 10pm and 7am could be dealt with by noise control.
"If you deem noises to be excessive, you can call noise control on anyone."
Anderson conducted tests and concluded that traffic would have to almost double in flow to be noticeable.
But he agreed there would be more than traffic noises to deal with.
"It is going to be without doubt a loud environment," he said.
Philip Baker represented the castle owners. He could not define the types of activities it would host yet Baker said sound would not be an issue if the upgrade went ahead.
Because of the opposition, the proposed maximum annual late night events had been cut back from 52 to 25.
He said the events centre would create opportunities for economic growth in Tirau.
Council planning manager Alan Moss said the applicants would be informed of the decision when it had been made.