Thumbs down to rural kindergarten

Kieran Crowley
Kieran Crowley

Its neighbours are dead against it and now a report into a controversial nature kindergarten proposal in rural New Plymouth has recommended it be declined.

The Hadley Dr proposal goes before the New Plymouth District Council's Hearings Commission next month in what will be one of the first tests of rules bought in last year to protect rural character.

The kindergarten proposal has received five submissions against from its neighbours, including one from former All Blacks and Canada rugby coach Kieran Crowley, who owns property in the road.

Now a council planner's report into the proposal has recommended it be declined because of its significant adverse effects on the character of the rural environment.

The proposal breaks three council rules.

It is set back 11 metres from the road boundary when the new minimum is 30m. It would also require the maximum number of car movements to be lifted from 50 to 106 and the maximum seven-day average from 30 to 69.

That is something residents say will ruin the peace and quiet of their neighbourhood.

"In terms of mitigating effects from the development being located close to the road boundary, landscaping is proposed but cannot wholly screen the development from the road or neighbouring properties. The effects from traffic movements as proposed cannot be mitigated," the report says.

Mr Crowley, who currently lives in Canada, submitted that the kindergarten should also be declined because of the negative effect it will have on neighbouring property values.

Another neighbour, Janet Young, said the idea of having a kindergarten as her neighbour was "absolutely abhorrent" as her Hadley Dr home was her "piece of heaven away from town living".

The kindergarten has been proposed by early childhood teacher and Hadley Dr resident Tania Mitchell and her teaching partner, Trina Upson.

It would cater for as many as 24 children and employ up to three staff.

Modelled on the European Forest Kindergarten, the children's education would be held almost exclusively outdoors, though a 107-square-metre timber clad building is part of the proposal.

An acoustic report concluded noise levels from children playing outside would be within District Plan noise rules.

The proposal will go before the Hearings Commission at 10.30am Monday, December 3, at New Plymouth's Civic Centre.

Taranaki Daily News