PLANNERS are being urged not to go for the total closure of a controversial airfield which has been at the centre of three public inquiries.

Hambleton District Council has been embroiled in a continuing planning row for six years with the owners of Bagby airfield, near Thirsk, along with neighbouring parish councils.

Two years ago the council was ordered by the local government ombudsman to issue a public apology to residents for "extreme and most serious failure" over restricting use of the airfield. They were also ordered to hand over £5,000 each to two local parish councils.

The ombudsman recommended that the council should consider issuing a discontinuance order. But in a report to the planning committee which meets on Thursday, officer Martyn Richards said: "Making a discontinuance order for a total cessation of the airfield use would be a disproportionate response to the current situation.

“This is because there has previously been an authorised planning use of the site for flying private aircraft for recreation purposes.

“ Also the recent enforcement actions have had an impact on reducing the number and nature of aircraft movements and the adverse impact on residents.”

He adds that there could be financial implications for the council if a discontinuance order was made and the airfield owners sought compensation.

The planning committee is recommended not to consider further making a discontinuance order but to investigate a monitoring regime.