Suffolk Coastal DC unanimously approve the Bentwaters Planning Application
Councillors at the Suffolk Coastal District Council Development Management Meeting on 13 November 2014 agreed to support the planning application which would, apart from regularising the use of the buildings for agriculture, storage and businesses and also allow the Grace Spitfire, other historic planes and small aircraft to keep flying from Bentwaters.
There was overwhelming public support for the application, and in particular the Grace Spitfire, as shown by the number of representations made to SCDC during the consultation period of the planning application. In summary:
- 8 local Parish Councils objected
- 11 local Parish Councils either supported or had no objection (Rendlesham Parish Council supported the application)
- 558 letters of objection were received
- 730 letters of support were received
- 2 petitions in support were received – the Rendlesham petition (including Tunstall and Eyke) – 1,144 signatures and the online petition 5,124 signatures
Rendlesham Parish Council were present during the meeting and spoke in support of the application – the presentation was well received by the District Councillors who commended Rendlesham on their drive to support local employment and the creation of a sustainable community.
What this means for Rendlesham….
The Rights of Way Order for the new bridleway linking the village to the forest has been signed and we are waiting to hear of a start date for the work
Rendlesham will receive £20,000 towards the provision of new facilities in the village
2 new bus stops will be provided near the roundabout at the end of Redwald Road
The Parish Council would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the application and the campaign to keep the Grace Spitfire flying.
Bentwaters Planning Application - The facts about the flying
The Parish Council Planning Committee have given its full support to the current Bentwaters application to regularise the use of the buildings on Bentwaters Parks, this includes the flying of the Spitfire. Despite publicity being circulated from an unknown source there are no plans for Bentwaters to become a commercial airport, it is simply to give a home to 8 historical planes which form a very important part of our heritage.
- Part of the planning application proposes the use of two buildings to house 8 heritage display aircraft which operate from the site. An allowance is also made for a few visiting aircraft each year. Of the 8 airplanes which are described in the application, 5 could not be reasonably described as ‘aerobatic’;
- The planning application does not propose an airport. The amount of flying which is included in the planning application reflects existing levels of flying that has taken place over previous years;
- The 1999 Local Plan Inspector was not against flying in general from Bentwaters but was against a regional airport and ‘Civil Aviation’ in particular. These proposals represent ‘General Aviation’ – a lesser order of aviation activity and an important distinction the 1999 Local Plan Inspector was well aware of when he reported on ‘Civil Aviation’ not ‘General Aviation’
- The area around Bentwaters and the AONB is already well used by military aircraft based at RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath, RAF Woodbridge and RAF Wattisham and by private pilots. The area around Bentwaters and beyond is in open air space; any pilot can come to the area from elsewhere and fly. Only those with the landowners permission can land at Bentwaters (the understandable exception being someone with a genuine emergency). Pilots are governed by what are known as the Rules of the Air which are enforced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and not by planning rules. If the Council or members of the public are unaware of CAA Regulation then they might be interested in the recently opened General Aviation Unit of the CAA. The CAA states that “the new unit will improve efficiency and create greater transparency and accountability” for General Aviation;
- Having a small number of airplanes based at Bentwaters has had the benefit of reducing the number of airplanes from elsewhere coming to the area to fly in ways that are less considerate than the pilots based at Bentwaters. The owners and operators at Bentwaters are able to warn off regular leisure flyers and aerobatic display teams because of the existing flying from the site. They have done this on several occasions over recent years;
- The level of flying proposed from Bentwaters is therefore low at an average of 1.26 flights a day.