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Councillors decide against closure order for Bagby Airfield
COUNCILLORS yesterday decided against making an order which would have closed an airfield at the centre of a long-running planning wrangle.
The Local Government Ombudsman recently asked Hambleton District Council to consider taking out a discontinuation order against Bagby Airfield, near Thirsk , North Yorkshire, after looking into allegations by a residents’ group.
The group had complained to the ombudsman about a number of issues related to the way the council responded to developments at the airfield.
One of the complaints was that the council had failed to exercise control over unauthorised development at the site.
The ombudsman found the council was guilty of failing to maintain control over the use of the airfield for flights. It concluded this had given residents a sense of frustration and apprehension about possible uncontrolled future expansion at Bagby.
At yesterday’s planning meeting in Northallerton , councillors opted to increase enforcement action in a bid to reduce the number of flights, but not to make the discontinuation order, which would have closed the airfield down.
The cabinet this week decided to take on another enforcement officer, giving it the staff to monitor the situation.
A residents’ campaign group and Jean Varey, clerk of Bagby Parish Council, both argued in favour of a discontinuation order, telling the meeting there was a long history of the airfield ignoring directions from the council.
Mrs Varey said: “Who from Hambleton District Council is going to be aware of the flights that arrive and leave from the runway, causing alarm and distress at 11.30pm, 12.30am and even as late as 2am in the morning?”
Airfield owner Martin Scott said the airfield had been running since the 1980s and ten years ago there were more flights than today.
He said the airfield brought business to the area, ferrying jockeys and trainers to fixtures, farmers to markets and bringing in visitors from Dubai and Europe.
It is understood making a discontinuance order would have involved the council using public funds to compensate the owner by purchasing the airfield and returning it to agricultural land.
After the meeting, Mr Scott said he expected the decision