Flight path fears for Lavenham's tourism

HOUSE prices and tourism could be hit by plans to move an aircraft flight path over a picture postcard village, community leaders have warned.Residents in the idyllic village of Lavenham have voiced their concerns after proposals to shift Stansted Airport's stacking zone away from Sudbury and towards more rural locations were announced.

Dave Gooderham

HOUSE prices and tourism could be hit by plans to move an aircraft flight path over a picture postcard village, community leaders have warned.

Residents in the idyllic village of Lavenham have voiced their concerns after proposals to shift Stansted Airport's stacking zone away from Sudbury and towards more rural locations were announced.

And their fears have deepened after plans to double the size of Stansted were unveiled.

Jane Gosling, chairman of the Lavenham Society, said people feared an increase in noise could hit the tranquillity of the village.

She said: “The society is very concerned about the proposals as we feel they could be detrimental to a very special place. Residents are full of concern as there is a good chance this could hit their quality of life as well as house prices and tourism.

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“The change in flight paths is going to have an affect as there has already been a noticeable difference over the last five years. The society will also be formally objecting to plans to double the size of Stansted as we feel it is not right for the whole area.”

Last month, NATS, formerly the National Air Traffic Service, launched a three-month consultation period proposing to shift the stacking zone away from the Sudbury area - to the delight of town residents and supporters of the neighbouring Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

But celebration in one area has caused consternation for other nearby villages now faced with the prospect of aircraft noise over their countryside homes.

Lyn Gurling, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said: “Although the council has not yet agreed a formal response, from a personal view, I and other residents are absolutely horrified by the proposals.

“An increase in air noise could cause a lot of disturbance to our peace and quiet in Lavenham and could affect various aspects of our village life.

“I have spoken to numerous residents who are worried by this with the main concerns being pollution and disturbance. Plans to double the size of Stansted are only going to increase fears.”

Mrs Gurling said she had been in contact with concerned councils in nearby Thorpe Morieux and Brettenham and that Lavenham Parish Council would consider its formal response next month .

A spokesman for NATS said the new proposals had been based on guidelines from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) advising avoidance of centres of population.

He added: “We would encourage people to get involved in the consultation process and not just sit back and be unhappy. We can then use this feedback to consider our position before a final decision is made.”

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