Bentwaters: Opponents say planners have ‘no option’ but to reject flying from former air base

Bentwaters Bentwaters

Saturday, July 12, 2014
6:02 AM

Campaigners fighting to stop what they assert would be an increase in flying at a former military air base claim planners have no option but to refuse the proposals.

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The Bentwaters Campaign Group (BCG) has handed Suffolk Coastal District Council a 32-page submission outling its opposition to Bentwaters Parks’ blueprint for the future of the 940-acre site.

The owners’ proposals include formalising uses for nearly 200 buildings and permitting 960 air movements a year, an average of less than two flights a day, for heritage aircraft and occasional business flights.

BCG says it is happy for the Spitfire at Bentwaters to fly on 28 days a year as this would not harm the tranquility of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and also supports an annual air show as “this is consistent with the heritage needs and represents the right balance”.

BCG leader Mike Sherwen said the National Planning Policy Framework did not permit major development in an AONB unless there are exceptional circumstances, a demonstrable public interest, no other suitable location and a need for the development.

He said: “Our team has thoroughly reviewed every letter written to the council, the local plans, the policy framework and the reasons why the inspector reached his conclusions.

“We can see no basis in law or policy for the planners to conclude that this application should be approved, unless they change the local policy on the hoof, which would be unreasonable.

“There is no benefit to the local economy in the current proposal but potentially significant detriment to existing businesses such as tourism, music at Snape and even those on the base, such as data storage.

“We have considered all the arguments to ensure we have reached a balanced view on all the relevant issues.”

Mr Sherwen said if the council departed from the local plan, it could leave itself open to a “judicial review” of its decision – unless it could demonstrate cogent reasons for such a material departure.

The owners of Bentwaters say their proposals aim to regularise the use of the site.

They deny there will be an increase in flying and have submitted an environmental impact assessment which says there will be no harm to the tranquility of the area.

10 comments

  • Mr Sherwen needs to get a life and look at the positives. I visited Duxford recently and the Spirtfires were in the air every half an hour and such a crowd just wanting to pay to get on them, they are part of our heritage, our fore fathers who won the war with them too. and to suggest a “judicial review” to bully the council is rediculous and shows he knows his plan is weak!!

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    newsaddict

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I am sorry but the airfield has been there a long time and to see it being used more can only be a positive thing. How 2 flights a day could spoil the AONB and how it would disturb concerts at Snape etc is beyond me. This is once again down to a minority of people who do not want a working airfield on their doorstep although it was probably there long before them!! How much public opinion has been sought on this?

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    Voice of Reason

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

  • Firstly the area in question has been outstanding since long before the base was built in WW2 and despite all its military traffic this hasn't changed. 2nd, The area has developed as has Snape almost because of the base and the area certainly profited from the USAF. If noise is REALLY the concern of the BCG then common sense says this can be almost eliminated by a stipulation that aircraft climb straight ahead before turning North which will clear TunstallEyke. Old aircraft could even be required to turn right into the circuit which would keep them within the confines of the base. The 960 moves (1 up 1 down) will due to weather and holidays probably be 10 flight per week. More than this are made from Hadleigh and probably Pettaugh as well without spoiling. anything.

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    Brian Bridle

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • Councillor Sherwin should try putting forward the views of his entire electorate rather than the chosen few who are against the plans.

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    Dean

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • well done mr sherwen finally stopped hiding behind the title of spokeman for bcg. I see now you have taken to speaking for snape music as well, you also seem to have good line into the eadt,You may both need reminding this country is a democarcy

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    saxon

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • So just a reminder, who elected BCG to talk for the rest of us? Don't we all elect District Councilors to decide these matters once officers have considered all aspects of any application? Why do you keep repeating this story when nothing new is being reported?

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    amsterdam81

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • I would just like to clarify that flying at Bentwaters does help increase local economy. When my family and I have visited for a random chance of seeing the spitfire we generally either visit somewhere for food or use f the local shops at the same time. We have often seen other people drive around for the same reason a possible glimpse of the spitfire. Perhaps on a more positive note a website or twitterfacebook message could be available when flying expected to generate even more local spending.

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    deben27

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • This may have escaped Mike Sherwen's notice but... The Bentwaters airfield is already there and the "Major development" occurred before AONB were even thought of! The Over 7,000 signatures on petitions supporting the plans, also shows that there is " a demonstrable public interests".

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    kevinwj

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • All those who are now objecting to flying from Bentwaters airfield did not live in the area when it was an operational military airbase. If they had would they have objected then? Many in the local area mostly those at each end of the runways had a lot of noise to put up with. the proposed flying is by comparison very quiet and restricted to "day light" only. The effect on Snape Maltings is in my view very small. Some of the commercial flights that cross the area do make much more noise when they fly towards a landing. When I ask is someone going to object to the noise and disturbance caused by off road unsilenced motorcycles in the forest areas and the danger from inconsiderate riders.

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    bigbobbybear

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

  • Yet more bully boy rhetoric from the BCG. Lets all disappear from Suffolk as clearly they want to be in charge of everything to allow it to be a fossil in a museum. Some things need to change for heavens sake...this NIMBYist attitude being one thing.

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    Scuzzer

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

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

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