Chedworth residents angry about proposed childcare centre

TRAFFIC FEARS: Clive Anderson is concerned about the traffic implications of a new childcare centre proposed on Rutherford Street.
TRAFFIC FEARS: Clive Anderson is concerned about the traffic implications of a new childcare centre proposed on Rutherford Street.

A planned early childcare centre catering for up to 80 children in Hamilton's Chedworth suburb has angered nearby residents who say it will cause traffic chaos along their narrow streets.

Chedworth resident Clive Anderson said Rutherford Street already struggled to cope with peak-hour traffic, with Westfield Chartwell workers parking on both sides of the street.

Hukanui Kindergartens Waikato is located on Rutherford Street while Hukanui Primary School is located toward the street's north end.

Creators Building Ltd have applied to Hamilton City Council for resource consent to build an early childcare centre 33 Rutherford St.

Mr Anderson said if the project were given approval it would cause "traffic hell" for long-suffering residents.

"I really have to question what the hell is going on. If this childcare centre goes ahead it will cause a big headache but it seems not enough people were told about it," Mr Anderson said.

"Buses travel down our street but I rang the bus company and even they weren't aware that this childcare centre was being planned."

But Creators Building director Rick Fourie, who runs the Creators Christian Childcare Centre on Forest Lake Rd, said the company has gone out of its way to reduce traffic impact on the street.

"We've gone and created off-site parking over and above what council has asked of us," he said.

Traffic Engineering firm AECOM reported the centre would have "no discernible impact" and Mr Fourie consulted with 11 property owners in the affected area and all but one gave consent.

Creators Educational Trust is a non-profit community organisation that bought four properties in a cluster last year and also owned the fifth.

Mr Fourie said the centre would provide high quality early childhood education for the community and would work well with Hukanui School which is less than 150 meters away.

"We can build really strong relationships with that local school to make that transition seamless," he said.

"If we can get one of those things sorted, like moving the bus out of Rutherford St or putting time meters on the parking there it's going to be better for everyone."

City Council planning guidance unit manager Debra Stan-Barton said the project did not have to be publicly notified because the adverse effects of the proposal were considered "no more than minor". However about 12 surrounding properties were considered to be adversely affected and some residents had not given written consent to the proposal. Creators Building's resource consent application had been notified to those who did not give consent, Ms Stan-Barton said.

A hearing had been set down for late next month.

"An independent hearings commissioner will consider the application and make the decision as to whether to grant or decline the application, and if granted under what conditions," Ms Stan-Barton said. She said council had considered the traffic impact assessment when making the decision to notify.

Mr Anderson said he had made a written submission opposing the development but was unsure if he would be invited to talk at the hearing.

"I wouldn't mind having a childcare centre next to me, because they are normally good neighbours, but I just don't agree with the proposed location. At the moment you have to avoid Rutherford St when school's in because you have all these parents stopping on the side of the road trying to drop their kids off."