Residents left 'toothless' over truck shed

Tamahere residents are angry at a "large-scale industrial building" erected near a proposed community hub, claiming they were unaware of the development.

The Tamahere Community Committee is questioning Waikato District Council's decision to grant land use consent to Regal Haulage to expand its operations in Tamahere.

The bulk haulage company, which also has a depot in Bulls, operates more than 90 truck and trailer units and employs more than 140 staff.

The company's Tamahere operation is located on Airport Rd.

Tamahere resident Arnold Koppens said the community committee only learnt of the new development on December 2 last year.

"On December 4 our committee had a meeting but by then the floor of this building was down," he said.

Mr Koppens said the council had erred in not consulting with the public, adding that Regal Haulage planned to use the building to manufacture truck bodies.

Regal Haulage declined to comment to the Waikato Times.

"The council granted the consent as a non-notified application and didn't consult with residents until after the consent was issued. The building area has gone from 1100 square metres to 2400sqm but the council regarded this change as minor. We're still waiting to read an environmental impacts report on this development but the council has made the community committee look like idiots. People say we never do anything and that we're toothless. Well we've just found out we're toothless all right."

Tamahere ward councillor Wally Hayes sympathised with residents' frustration and said the council should have notified them about the building.

Mr Hayes said the location of the structure, close to a planned Tamahere community hub and recreational reserve, was "unfortunate".

"The community's interest should have been taken into account, especially when you considered what's been planned next door for the community."

Council regulatory general manager Nath Pritchard said Regal Haulage's application was considered in accordance with the Resource Management Act and public notification was not required.

He said the council had imposed consent conditions which placed limits on Regal Haulage's operations in respect of noise, building height, vehicle movements and operational hours.

"The council is confident that provided Regal Haulage operates within these limits, the effects on neighbouring properties will be acceptable.

"Yes, the size of the building has increased with the addition of a new workshop and extension. In accordance with the RMA the adverse environmental effects were considered and determined to be less than minor on adjacent property owners [and] occupiers," Mr Pritchard said.

He said Tamahere had evolved from a "rural service centre" to one that supported a range of land uses, including industrial, rural, educational, residential and community facilities and the council had to find an appropriate balance.

But Mr Koppens questioned how rigorously the council would enforce Regal Haulage's consent conditions.

"We don't want to be the bogey in all this, but the fact is the council could have talked to us but didn't."