Helicopter flight noise angers villagers

VILLAGERS claim that the peace and quiet of their community is being disrupted by the noise of a helicopter which keeps landing nearby.

VILLAGERS claim that the peace and quiet of their community is being disrupted by the noise of a helicopter which keeps landing nearby.

Pamela Pringle, of Angel Lane, Blythburgh, has been complaining about the noise caused by the small helicopter for months but has now been told there is nothing she can do to stop it being landed just a hedge width away in her neighbour's garden.

Mrs Pringle, 79, complained to the Civil Aviation Authority and to the police, who told her that she might be able to get an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) against her neighbour, Peter Nash, to stop the flights.

The small two-seater Schweizer 269c helicopter is owned and flown by Bo Maggs, who has been landing in her friend Mr Nash's garden for months.

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She flies the craft about 80 miles from her home in Surrey to Blythburgh, near Southwold, to visit friends, including Mr Nash.

Mr Nash declined to comment.

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Mrs Pringle said: “I am concerned about safety as it gets very windy here. It is very dangerous.

“I'm now left clutching at straws because I don't know what else to do. I've been in touch with the anti-social behaviour officers at the council but I'm told that there is nothing they can do.

“I'm not going to just give up and go away.”

Cilla Wilson, who also lives in Angel Lane, said: “The noise is unbelievable. If you're on the telephone, you can't hear the conversation so you either have to put it down or ask the person to wait 15 minutes for the noise to stop. It's just awful.”

However after Suffolk Coastal District Council investigated, officers found that the noise level created by the aircraft - 78.6 decibels - was not loud enough for a court to grant an Asbo.

A council spokesman said that using a garden for landing the craft was not a breach of planning control.

He said: “We have investigated it with our community safety team who have been heavily involved in this and we have gone through all the potential things that could possibly have helped her.”

But he added: “The reality is that it can occur. The only way forward that we can see is some mediation between the two.

“We were prepared to do some mediation between the two parties, but unfortunately Mrs Pringle did not want to go down that particular route.”

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