A decision by Hastings District Council to block the construction of a new temple is being challenged by Hawke's Bay's Sikh community.

In January, HDC declined a resource consent application from New Zealand Sikh Society Incorporated (Hastings) to build the temple at 28 Richmond Rd in Tomoana.

The land is zoned as Plains Production land, which Hastings' District Plan states is set aside for production purposes.

At the time of the application, council officers said it was"diametrically opposed" to council's strategic policy direction of avoiding "unnecessary" urban development on the versatile land of the Hertaunga plains.


"The proposal is not located within an area identified for future urban growth and leapfrogs the strongly defined urban limits," a paper being presented to the HDC hearings committee states.

The New Zealand Sikh Society Incorporated (Hastings) has objected to the application being declined.

"The council's long-term strategic intent is for further industrial expansion to occur in this area," the paper states.

"It is incongruous to deny the Sikh community the opportunity to develop a place of worship in this location on the basis of preserving the land in question for some future and speculative wet industrial activity."

The paper states the objector acknowledges the strong policy direction and importance of protecting versatile soil.

"However, there are times when the community needs to weigh this with other activities that also contribute to the wellbeing of current and future generations."

"Granting consent to a single application for a place of assembly will not undermine the integrity of the proposed plan."

If allowed to proceed, the temple would have a 1000sq m footprint.


There is also a proposal for a 120sq m library building and a 260sq m residential building used for the head priest.

It would be open 24/7 to allow people to pray, with an anticipated 20 people visiting at anyone time and weekend ceremonies would be held from Friday evening to Sunday with an anticipated 400 people attending.

There would also be up to 15 special ceremonies each year, such as weddings, with the ability to cater for 700 people.

It would have parking spaces for 105 vehicles.

The hearing will be held in front of councillors George Lyons, Tania Kerr and Bayden Barber on July 29.

The recommendation in the paper is to decline the application.

The paper states granting the application would likely undermine public confidence in the integrity of the district plan, and create an adverse precedent.

"The proposal is a significant departure from the clear and understood policy direction for land use in the Plains Production Zone."