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Suffolk: Petition urges go-ahead for flying at Bentwaters

PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 June 2014

The Grace Spitfire flying over Bentwaters

The Grace Spitfire flying over Bentwaters

Nearly 5,000 people have signed a petition urging planners to permit flying at the former Bentwaters USAF air base

The online petition, which will be sent to Suffolk Coastal when the consultation deadline finishes on July 7, is supporting the Grace Spitfire and other heritage planes which fly from the site.

David Burr, who launched the petition, said: “The 1999 Planning Inspector’s report concerned proposals for a regional airport of some 80,000 movements a year. The Inspector was not against all flying from Bentwaters forever.

“The (current) application proposes a maximum of 480 flights – 960 movements – per year. A take-off and landing is one flight.

“This averages 1.25 flights a day. There is no intention of creating an airport and the numbers confirm this.

“There is already flying in this area of the county by military and civilian pilots. It is common knowledge that since the Americans left in 1993 there has been continuous flying from Bentwaters.”

Kay Nash, Rendlesham Parish Council chairman, said more than 300 letters in support of the Bentwaters planning application had been handed in at the Rendlesham Show, and a further 350 signatures were collected on petition forms to add to those online.

Opponents stress that they are not against the Spitfire flying but fear an increase in flights could set a precedent for further flying development in future and harm the tranquillity of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and ruin one of the main reasons people visit the Suffolk Coastal area.

Steven Bainbridge, of Evolution Town Planning, agents for Bentwaters’ owners, said the website of the Bentwaters Campaign Group (BCG) proclaimed it was “opposed to flying from Bentwaters since 1997”.

He said a five-hour meeting had been held between the owners and Carolyn and Richard Grace from Air Leasing with the BCG to explain the planning application and the structure and function of Air Leasing, which operates the Spitfire, and how that supports the historic aircraft.

Mr Bainbridge said: “Therefore if the BCG truly support the Spitfire, they must know (because we told them) the fact is they must also support Air Leasing Ltd. The two are in fact inextricably linked.”

6 comments

  • Seems its mostly the yachting mob on the river Deben and Snape maltings that are complaining the loudest. Why they think any light aircraft from Bentwaters would want to practise low level aerobatics over their respective areas i do not know !! . Most of these aircraft can take-off from Bentwaters and stay over the airfield if they need to practise, i don't think a Piper Cub will need a three mile approach run over Snape concert hall to land on the runway. For the BCG i suggest you google Piper Cub and you will find that your large 4x4's probably have a bigger engine !!

    Report this comment

    milkyway

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • re - Petitions only ever reflect the concerns of a small, select group and never those of the wider community. Thats exactly what the BCG is doing.......

    Report this comment

    Blackwater

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • There should be flying from the former Bentwaters site. We welcomed the US airforce and all the money that was spent in the local community. We enjoyed their open days where the US airforce welcomed us locals with open arms. No matter what type of flying is performed from the Bentwaters site it would not harm the local area, if anything it would bring much needed revenue to the local area. Ipswich decided not to go ahead with airport and lost out on much needed revenue and business. Lets not let that happen again.

    Report this comment

    freelance

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • Where is this petition as I will willingly sign it, to give an insight of what the people who operate this airfield have to deal with look no further than the comments page in The East Anglian Monday the 23rd June. As can be seen plenty of space was given to the comments of Caroline Harvey who is against flying from Bentwaters, but not one comment that have been printed in favour, can't help but wonder why

    Report this comment

    thundercat

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • The petition seems to have many times as much support as those opposing flying. We don't know who they are so there is no evidence they live anywhere near here, even as weekenders. Indeed it is not clear how many they represent as, unlike a with a petition they don't need to be identified.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • And how many of those 5,000 would be affected by the noise nuisance, or even live in the area? Petitions only ever reflect the concerns of a small, select group and never those of the wider community.

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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