OWNERS of an earthmoving business operating from a residence on the Old Forbes Road without council approval have hit back at claims from nearby residents who want the business to move to an industrial estate.
Spicer Construction has been operating from the neighbouring property since 1997 and from the current property since 2009, according to a council report at Monday’s sustainable development committee (SDC) meeting.
Following a complaint, council asked the company to cease activities and lodge a development application for the business, which received seven objections and four letters in support.
Owner Adam Spicer said the family business caused no problems for nearby residents.
“We’re not the sort of people who have a massive great big impact on the world,” he said.
“The objections are from a small group of people furthest away from the property. Our closest neighbours have no objections.”
Councillors voted to defer a decision on the future of the business until they inspect the site.
Resident Walter Gaul told the meeting there were anomalies in the application with the enterprise not fitting the definition of a home business.
“I don’t think earthmoving can be classed as light industry,” he said.
“My main concern is the amenity of the neighbourhood.”
But Mr Spicer disagreed saying the premises was not a depot and was only used for office space and some minor maintenance to equipment with most moved directly from job to job.
Development assessments manager Allan Renike said the definition of a home business under council’s development control plan (DCP) was intentionally left open, with light industry included on the list of allowable businesses.
Mr Gaul said the business needed to relocate if it got any bigger.
But Mr Spicer said there were no plans to expand.
“If anything we’d like to downsize,” he said.
Mr Gaul also questioned whether the owners of the business were permanent residents of the dwellings, a condition of operating a home business.
Mr Spicer said he had recently moved out of the property but the business’s co-owners, his parents Garry and Jenny Spicer, had lived on the premises since 1996.
Another resident Bruce Longhurst said the business would be better suited to Leewood Estate.
He also questioned the list of equipment the business had provided council, saying the business’s website listed additional services.
But Mr Spicer said the business hired equipment for larger work.
“We’ve provided the information as fairly and accurately as we can,” he said.