An Auckland school has been left flummoxed after learning of a massive 12m tall factory going up less than 3m from its boundary just 10 days before it will start to be built.
Hobsonville Primary School principal Anne Leitch slammed Autex Group's construction of a new factory at the back of its school grounds, a project they learned about last week.
While Leitch wouldn't comment when approached by the Herald, her feelings about the build were laid bare in the school's latest newsletter.
"The school is incredibly disappointed that Auckland Council approved consent without notification to the school.
"This communication is to inform you that once again the school has been ignored and disregarded as a place where an aesthetic environment is critical for our students."
She informed parents that construction of Autex Industries' new factory would begin on Monday and it would manufacture their GreenStuf product.
"This development will be a 12m tall concrete structure and take up approximately half of the school's back boundary."
She wrote that the school was supposed to be protected by a 3m minimum planted buffer zone and should be an affected party to any development at its school boundary.
Autex Industries managing director Rob Croot said the project management team met with the school last week.
"As a family owned and operated business, genuinely supporting communities, families, and schools is of utmost importance to Autex and it's something we have been doing in West Auckland for more than 20 years. We want a long-term, positive relationship with Hobsonville School," he said.
He said the land in question had been zoned for light industrial buildings for more than five years.
The original development plans showed part of a retaining wall would have encroached on the 3m planted buffer by 30cm but that had been addressed, Croot said.
He said the GreenStuf Insulation products which would be made there were safe and free from chemicals.
The company was happy to meet with the school and concerned parents, he said.
The Ministry of Education said the school had not contacted them for any help.
"The school has not contacted us about this matter or its prior legal action," Kim Shannon, Ministry of Education's Head of Education Infrastructure Service, confirmed.
"As Autex has already been granted resource consent by Auckland Council, we would suggest the school consider seeking a meeting with Autex to discuss its concerns."
Shannon said the buffer zone lapsed when the Waitakere Council moved into the new Auckland Unitary Plan.
"Hobsonville School sought a precinct plan change nearly 10 years ago to agree buffer zones and maximum heights of industrial buildings. Unfortunately, any concessions the school gained through this process would have lapsed when the Waitakere Council transitioned into the new Auckland Unitary Plan.
"We understand the school employed legal counsel to reinstate these rules into the Unitary Plan without success," Shannon said.
It has left parents unimpressed.
One wrote to Auckland Council annoyed that Autex was able to get consent for a structure that was so close to a school.
"How is it possible that once again a building is going up in close vicinity to the school and consent was approved without notification to the school? The school field already looks out on to the very tall mini storage facility and now the back half of the field will have another 12m tall building that is only 2.7m from the back boundary.
"It is extremely upsetting that development is being approved with little regard to the school," the parent wrote.