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Bentwaters: Campaign group is reactivated to fight flying proposals at former USAF air base

13:39 15 May 2014




Extra time is to be given for people to comment on a new masterplan for the former Bentwaters military air base amid growing concern that there could be more flying from the site in future.


The Bentwaters Campaign Group (BCG) has been reactivated to fight the proposals, saying an increase in aircraft noise would have a huge impact on the tranquillity of the coasts and heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The masterplan for the 380-hectare former USAF base has been submitted to Suffolk Coastal by the site’s owners and aims to formalise its current and future use, and traffic movements.

Included are proposals for 960 air movements a year, the housing of seven aerobatic aircraft, plus an airshow and additional business flights.

BCG leader Mike Sherwen said: “Once flying is permitted in planning law it becomes impossible to control the aircraft.”

He said any aircraft could be allowed, at any time of day or night, to fly anywhere permitted by the CAA, with no control over noise.

The application stipulates seven aerobatic aircraft can be kept at Bentwaters, leading to fears that initially the majority of flights will be aerobatic aircraft, which BCG says are “the most persistent noise creators, flown mainly on the sunniest days in the best of the weather” when people are enjoying their gardens and the countryside.

Mr Sherwen said: “This is not about the Spitfire that flies from Bentwaters, it’s about the long-term implications.

“Once planning for flying is granted, it can’t be taken away.

“Over the years ahead, we could face a permanent, growing aircraft industry at Bentwaters, and the insidious degradation of our currently tranquil environment, and the jobs it supports.”

Plans for a major civil airport at Bentwaters were defeated in 1999, and HM Inspectorate said civil aviation would not be allowed.

Suffolk Coastal council has extended the public consultation period to mid June.

Steven Bainbridge, of Evolution, agents for the application, said although the application is described as a “change of use”, the owners are not seeking to carry out any new activities if it is approved.

“The planning application seeks to regularise the current uses,” he said. “We are not looking to expand on that – just formalise the things that are already in place”.

Anyone with concerns is invite to contact Evolution on 01359 233663.

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  • what a load of wally's When the American's were there they had Jets thundering out of there at all hours, all the owner wants to do is house a few light aircraft there and host the odd Airshow which are educational for our children as it teaches them the history of flight, we wouldn't have a lot of the military jets and passenger jets if it wasn't for the light aircraft being invented in the first place. you so called activists need to go back to your hovel's and only come out to complain about something that really matters this is a silly thing to complain about and a waste of taxpayers money to hold it's permission up.

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    Robert Bugg

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Wildlife would not be affected by the odd light aircraft movement, when Bentwaters was a military base busy with jets i have seen herds of deer next to the perimeter fence and skylarks over the airfield singing away, they showed no sign of being 'terrified'. I think road traffic has a bigger effect on local wildlife. From what i have found from these campaigners they have not read the planning application thoroughly and their facts are wrong and also why did they hand out leaflets in Orford and not in Rendlesham ?, is it because that is where the 'money' people retire to ?

    Report this comment


    Monday, May 19, 2014

  • Why oh why does wildlife and conservation always consider itself the be all and end all of what can and can't be done!! Theres been an airbase on this site for decades and it would be such a shame to see it go to waste!! The coastline of Suffolk has acres and acres of conservation areas already!! If you don't like bells, don't live near the church!!

    Report this comment

    Earl of Suffolk

    Monday, May 19, 2014

  • nimbys nimbys selfish nimbys would like to return suffolk back to the 1750s

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    Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • The Spitfire and other small aircraft that operate out of Bentwaters at the moment keep other noisier aircraft away. If the airfield had no aircraft flying from there it would open the door for military jets to practise attacks on an ex military airbase and private jets from North Weald in Essex to return again to practice their display routines (like they used to a few years a go) And at night the American Special Forces and their Osprey aircraft would love to utilise the base, so i think these campaigners would be shooting themselves in the foot. Whats next i wonder, stopping yachts going up the River Deben as they erode the river banks !!

    Report this comment


    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • I wouldn't mind but I believe there are no increases in flights planned. This is just to continue as per current levels. Personally I feel priviliged to live in a local town where I can watch the beautiful ML407 Grace Spitfire flying so regularly. The airbase has been wasted, it should have been converted into a cargo airport straight after the USAF went home. I for one would love to watch Phantoms screaming over town on their finals once more. Why do people have to turn everywhere into their own personal noise-free zone. Life (and work) goes on.

    Report this comment


    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • Considering the number of noisy jets that used to operate out of the twin bases I've never understood why flying was banned when the bases closed. Not sure what is achieved by stopping this. Are there plans to prevent all overflying in Suffolk?

    Report this comment


    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • The previous article on this subject by Andrew somebody-or-other mentioned disturbance to local wildlife as an aggravating factor of the application. I can vouch for this. I was in an audio shop in Tunstall recently and I watched as a hedgehog purchased a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

    Report this comment

    Rita WAG

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • If b and m have to move do this meen morrisons will not get planing to sell jars of jam from the b and q site

    Report this comment


    Thursday, May 15, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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