A North Taranaki community has lost its battle to stop gas drilling at a new site going ahead.
The New Plymouth District Council has granted Greymouth Petroleum consents to drill four wells at a site called Kowhai C, in the small rural town of Tikorangi.
Residents had asked the council not to give the site the go ahead, saying it was too close to the school, sports ground and centre of the community.
A Tikorangi resident and campaigner, Abbie Jury, says residents are shellshocked at the decision and only found out about it when Greymouth Petroleum began working on the site two weeks ago.
Residents had been working with the council to establish protocols for managing the rapid oil and gas development in the area, balanced with the community's values.
However, Ms Jury says those protocols are now dead in the water because the council led residents to believe Greymouth's Kowhai C application was on hold.
New Plymouth mayor Harry Duynhoven says the approval has been given in accordance with the law.
He says council staff have done everything properly, following the rules in the Resource Management Act and the district plan.