Controversial changes for Northumberland airfield due for approval

Divisive plans to allow a microlight airfield in north Northumberland to carry out more flights and hold air rallies are recommended for approval this week.

By Ben O'Connell
Monday, 15th February 2021, 1:34 pm
Updated Monday, 15th February 2021, 1:35 pm

The application, which seeks approval for a number of changes to the existing planning permission for Athey’s Moor Airfield, to the north-east of Longframlington, goes before the North Northumberland Local Area Council on Thursday, February 18.

If approved, the bid to remove and vary several conditions, would allow the following on a permanent basis:

Flying training, circuits and touch-and-go manoeuvres to take place at the site;

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A stock image of a microlight in flight

Aircraft arrivals and departures on 150 days per year, up from 120;

Daily aircraft movements to be increased to 50 movements, ie, 25 take-offs and 25 landings, in a 24-hour period, up from 36;

The site to be used for up to four air rallies, festivals or similar charitable activities per year with 200 movements within a 24-hour period allowed on these occasions.

The proposals have sparked 38 objections from residents and local businesses, as well as from Longframlington and Edlingham Parish Councils, while there have also been 57 representations in support from residents and pilots who use the airfield.

The location of Athey’s Moor Airfield.

The concerns include increased noise, the visual impact, traffic congestion, but a supporting statement lodged with the application claims the ‘efficient and effective’ small airfield ‘secures additional income and footfall for local businesses and amenities, particularly village shops, restaurants, pubs and holiday parks’.

The planning officer’s report to councillors, which recommends approving the changes, says: ‘The objections and support received in response to the publicity of the application from the parish councils, residents and business alike are noted and have been taken into account.

‘The proposals are acceptable in terms of amenity having particular regards to noise and disturbance. The application is acceptable in all other respects having regards to character and visual impacts, highways and ecology and biodiversity.’

It also notes that there have been no objections from key aviation bodies including Newcastle International Airport, National Air Traffic Services, the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Aviation Authority.

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