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Sides entrenched over airstrip planning enquiry
A LAWYER, a barrister and a solicitor have resumed a struggle over the future use of a grass airstrip.
At the opening of the second public inquiry in 15 months into Bagby Airfield, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, barrister Giles Cannock said the battle over noise from the site was becoming “increasingly entrenched”.
Meanwhile, planning specialist David Cooper predicted the controversy would spark three further hearings.
The Planning Inspectorate hearing, which has been condemned as a waste of council taxpayers’ money, is expected to last five days. Solicitor Martin Scott, who owns the airfield, is trying to overturn enforcement actions by Hambleton District Council to control the site’s use.
Before the inquiry, aviators and workers at the Bagby site held a demonstration outside the council offices in Northallerton.
Mark Golding, who has repaired planes at the airfield for 20 years, said he and numerous others feared losing their livelihoods if the council’s enforcement actions were not stopped.
More than 100 supporters and opponents of the airfield crowded into the council’s chamber as planning inspector George Mapson outlined Mr Scott’s 13 appeals, most of which centre on alleged changes of land use.
Mr Scott said the council’s enforcement actions were flawed because the land had a long-established use as an airfield with ancillary firms and that most of the developments on the site were immune from planning controls because of the length of time they had been there.
Mr Cannock, for the authority, said that while the council had not resolved to close the airfield, it wanted to restrict some of its activities, such as the use of a permanent runway, which he said were relatively recent developments.
Mr Cooper, representing Bagby and Thirkleby residents’ campaign group Action For Refusal, said the airfield was unlawful and the group wanted it closed.
He said: “We do not want a further mess being made of this, but Mr Scott has had every opportunity to apply for a certificate of lawful use. I believe this is the second inquiry out of five.”