LONG-awaited plans to formally allow flight training from an airfield in Great Oakley have been approved.

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However, a raft of conditions have been set out to balance concerns raised by objectors over noise disturbance.

Owner of Great Oakley airfield Tim Spurge was granted planning permission by Tendring District Council.

A separate application to allow helicopters to operate from the site has also been approved and will be subject to various conditions.

Mr Spurge submitted the two retrospective applications following complaints from district councillor Tom Howard, who said he was in breach of planning laws by allowing Skyward Flight Training, run by Christopher Shepherd-Rose, to operate from the site.

The applications prompted a strong response from both villagers who opposed the plans and pilots who were in favour of the airfield expansion.

Under previous rules, up to 30 flight movements a day were permitted but it does not allow flight training or helicopter usage.

In December, TDC’s planning committee was minded to approve the applications subject to conditions being drawn up and approved.

These include: no flight training between 9pm and 8.30am; no more than 30 take-offs a day; no repeated circuit flying on Sundays or public holidays and no aerobatic flying training.

A total of 14 conditions have been applied to helicopters which operate from the aerodrome. These include: no more than three take-offs a day; Other than in an emergency, no helicopter landing or taking off from the airfield between 9pm and 8.30am; and no helicopter flying training permitted.

Mr Spurge said: “I am pleased with the outcome but it must be remembered we haven’t applied to increase the number of flights – there is no change to the maximum limit.

“We have had long discussions with TDC and I think we can live with those conditions.”

Mr Howard said a fair balance had been struck. “The objectors and I are disappointed the applications have been approved but they have been through their due process.

“I am pleased that they have fairly extensive conditions applied as they should offer some protection to local people. I would have liked to have seen a restriction in place at the end of the runways to stop some of the planes over and under shooting close to neighbouring land.

“But overall the balance between the airfield and the local community has been found.”

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