Northrepps airfield latest

Operators of a north Norfolk airfield who want their temporary planning permission made permanent have been given 12 months to prove they can be good neighbours.

Operators of a north Norfolk airfield who want their temporary planning permission made permanent have been given 12 months to prove they can be good neighbours.

Northrepps airfield, near Cromer, was granted a 12-month permit in 2008 and but its owner wants the district council to remove that limit and make it permanent.

Chris Gurney, right, also asked for the number of flight movements per year to be increased from 1,780 to 2,100 and for other limitations on how the site is used to be altered.

This week, villagers - some carrying signs protesting over the impact the airfield could have on wildlife - packed into a district council planning meeting.


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Representatives from nearby Sidestrand and Roughton said their villages were already "blighted" by noisy microlights, gyrocopters and hang-gliders from the airfield and would be ruined if more were allowed.

The owner's cousin, Simon Gurney, also spoke in opposition to the plans, telling the meeting he had shut down another airstrip in the village run by him and Mr Gurney because of worries over its environmental impact.

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Ahead of the meeting, 150 villagers in the surrounding area contacted the council to object to the application.

Yet this week its environmental health officer said those worries were not backed by any evidence, having not received any complaints about noise ahead of this new application being submitted.

About 375 emails and letters were received, mainly from recreational flyers who do not live nearby, supporting the retention of the airfield.

Gordon Shaw, chief flight instructor at the airfield, said he had never received complaints from locals. He said: "All I have had is support for the airfield, especially when we did a locals day with 60 free flights."

Councillors were split over whether they believed the airfield really caused much disturbance.

Barbara McGoun said she experienced similar aircraft flying near her home on the Broads and found it "hugely irritating". She said: "It's excruciatingly noisy. I have huge sympathy with this."

But Sue Arnold said she had never encountered any problems.

She said: "I have always enjoyed the airfield being in Northrepps, and I live in Southrepps. I don't find them invasive."

Following a lengthy discussion it was decided the airfield should be granted a further 12-month temporary licence - with a maximum of 2,100 flight movements and a number of other conditions - to properly assess what impact it has on villagers and wildlife.

Roger Howe, planning law and enforcement officer, told the applicant: "This is a chance for you to show for 12 months you can be good neighbours."

He suggested the airfield keeps a detailed log of all flights going in and out of the aerodrome - including the type of aircraft and the route it takes - so it could answer any future complaints.

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