Redhill Aerodrome boss ‘quietly confident’ ahead of runway appeal
By Chris Madden firstname.lastname@example.org (This is Surrey Today)
THE new chief executive of Redhill Aerodrome is “quietly confident” ahead of an appeal hearing into plans for a hard runway.
But Ann Bartaby, who succeeded Jon Horne as aerodrome boss in June, admits she is forming a “plan B”, should the proposals for the South Nutfield site be rejected again.
PLAN B?: The fate of Redhill Aerodrome’s plan for a hard runway will be decided next year
Earlier this year, both Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council rejected plans to replace the Kings Mill Lane aerodrome’s grass runways with one concrete one.
Now a planning inspector will review the decision at a public inquiry in January, after the aerodrome appealed.
Ms Bartaby told the Mirror: “I am quietly confident, but there are no guarantees and one can never predict with any certainty.
“I have to be cautious because there is a lot riding on this.”
She added: “I am working on a plan B [incase the appeal is rejected], which has to be looking at other ways to get more activity to the site. I don’t believe there are any other options.
“If we can’t get a hard runway the only other thing we can do is to try a range of activities to attract more businesses.”
Ms Bartaby, who is also a director of planning company Terence O’Rourke, says she has not finalised what the other activities might be.
About 340 people are currently employed at the aerodrome and she says the best hope to secure its future lies in a hard runway, which would allow flights to operate in all weathers, thereby attracting new businesses.
“We are trying to make the aerodrome able to compete in the future,” she said.
“We are being held back at the moment. We are gravely concerned that life will get increasingly difficult for us.
“We have quite high fixed costs in terms of Air Traffic Control, fire services and maintaining the site.”
Ms Bartaby was formerly director of operations and development at TAG Farnborough Airport and advised former Redhill Aerodrome chief executive Jon Horne for around four years before succeeding him.
She believes the aerodrome’s case at appeal, which will focus on jobs at the site and its potential for improved business links, is stronger than is has ever been.
“We are not going to suggest the aerodrome is a massive business hub,” she told the Mirror.
“But it is important; there’s just under 400 people working here at the moment and there is an opportunity for that to increase.”
The inquiry will be held at Redhill’s Harlequin Theatre from January 7.
Battle lines drawn in Redhill Aerodrome appeal
By Chris Madden email@example.com (This is Surrey Today)
BATTLE lines are being drawn in the fight over controversial plans to build a hard runway at Redhill Aerodrome.
The proposals for the site in Kings Mill Lane, South Nutfield, were thrown out by two councils in June this year.
But, following an appeal by the site’s owners, a public inquiry into the plans will now be heard at Redhill’s Harlequin Theatre, from January 7 next year.
Last Thursday, all four major players in the inquiry submitted their initial evidence to the planning inspector – outlining the grounds of their argument for or against the development.
Protest group Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green (Krag) and Tandridge District Council both sent their papers to the Mirror.
But Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Redhill Aerodrome declined to comment on the matter.
Krag secretary Paul Murray called on politicians and residents to unite against the plans, which are the latest in a long series of proposed developments at the aerodrome.
He said: “We will ensure that we present well-researched and credible evidence to prove to the planning inspector that the proposed development is speculative, ill-conceived, unviable and opposed by the vast majority of the local community.
“We are actively encouraging local MPs Sam Gyimah and Crispin Blunt to continue their good work in opposing this application. We are also asking that the district councillors who represent the areas affected by the proposal continue to fully support their local constituents to publicly oppose this appeal, to ensure it is defeated as comprehensively as their predecessors have done over the last 20 years.”
The papers submitted to the inspector, which are available to view online, lay out the areas which the principal parties will focus on at the appeal.
If approved, the plan would allow the grass runways at the aerodrome to be replaced with a asphalt one, providing greater reliability, but a possible increase in aircraft movements.
Krag’s documents focus on the negative impact on the surrounding area, a lack of need for the development and opposition from residents.
The aerodrome’s argument claims the planning policies which formed the basis for the rejection are “out of date” and that the development is vital for the future of the business.
See the full documents on our website at www.surrey mirror.co.uk
Appeal lodged in battle for Redhill Aerodrome’s hard runway
It was the second time such an application has been thrown out in the past three years, but this week an appeal was lodged against the decision.
Former aerodrome chief executive Jon Horne, who stepped down for unrelated reasons shortly after the June decision, said at the time that he believed there was a strong case for appeal.
He also claimed the lack of a hard runway could put the aerodrome’s future in doubt, with the grass runways sometimes unusable in bad weather.
But campaign group Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green, which represents 900 households around the aerodrome, criticised the appeal bid.
The group’s secretary, Paul Murray, said: “This company is waging a planning application war of attrition on the local population.
“The public expense wasted in defending the local community and the environment against planning applications that are very similar to ones that have previously been rejected is appalling.”
Mr Murray questioned the assertion by aerodrome bosses that the development will create 450 new jobs in the area.
He also expressed fears the plans only have to be approved once for the battle to be lost.
Mr Murray added: “Any jobs projected by a new development need to have a chance to become real jobs, and not just fantasy jobs created with the intention to aid a duplicitous planning application.”
But new aerodrome chief executive Ann Bartaby, who replaced Mr Horne in June, said the runway is vital for the aerodrome, which could not function properly for five months last year, due to waterlogged runways.
She said: “We believe that to secure the future of the airfield we need to have the hard runway.
“The nature of aviation has changed and, in order to compete and offer full services to our customers, we need to give them greater certainty than we have at the moment. We are not claiming the aerodrome is going to change the world, but it does provide a large number of jobs, and we can provide an increase in the number of jobs.”
Appeal papers submitted to Tandridge District Council by planning company Terence O’Rourke – where Ms Bartaby is also a director – claim the council was wrong to reject the application on the grounds of conflict with green belt policy.
The papers claim provision of environmental enhancements, the economic contribution of the aerodrome and making the best use of the aerodrome’s additional capacity, represent the special circumstances required to allow development in the green belt.
A public inquiry into the appeal will be held later this year at a date to be confirmed.
Redhill Aerodrome hard runway plans rejected
June 7, 2013 Councillors have thrown out plans for a hard runway at Redhill Aerodrome because it would “scar” the landscape. The aerodrome currently only has grass runways, so cannot operate in bad weather. But the aerodrome’s owners, RAV, say they will appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Both Tandridge and Reigate & Banstead councils decisively rejected the plans to build a 1,349m-long concrete runway . A planning officer’s report had recommended councillors reject the scheme on the grounds of inappropriate development in the green belt. The new runway would have enabled the air field to increase air traffic movements by about 72% by flying in wet weather. The applicant had “dismally failed” to argue a case of special circumstances in order to gain approval to develop green belt. Opponents said 90% of households were against the hard surfaced runway, and a local councillor agreed with many residents in saying that there was “no merit” to the application which would “spoil the rural area” if given approval. Click here to view full story…
Important economic information on Redhill aerodrome hard runway application kept secret
March 11, 2013
Redhill Aerodrome has been trying to get a hard surfaced runway to replace its current three grass runways for many years. It submitted an application in July 2011, which was refused by Tandridge District Council (TDC) and Reigate & Banstead Council (R&B). Redhill Aerodrome then submitted a very slightly changed application in June 2012. The concrete runway would enable the aerodrome to increase flights from 60,000 to 85,000 a year including larger planes. There are problems with the application in relation to drainage and a local brook, as well as traffic impacts. But the aerodrome was asked by the councils to supply more detailed information on future activities of the aerodrome. This information is being used to back up the aerodrome’s claim for special grounds for building in the Green Belt. The aerodrome asked both councils to sign a confidentiality agreement so that the economic information supplied (eg. employment) would not be published. R&B signed the agreement, but after taking legal advice Tandridge refused to do so. Local campaigners say the application cannot be assessed without access to the financial details including employment and impact on the economy. Click here to view full story…
Redhill Aerodrome applies yet again for a hard runway to replace 3 grass runways
Owners of Redhill airfield, RAVL, have submitted a revised application for a hard runway after their first bid failed. They want to replace the 3 grass runways with a one concrete one, giving it potential to increase flights from 60,000 to 85,000 a year and for larger planes. Tandridge and Reigate councils turned down the original bid last year. The airfield think their new application “addressed the reasons for refusal in 2011″. As usual, they exaggerate the number of possible jobs that might be created – alleging it will increase the 450 jobs it supports today to some 590 in future – and attract investment to the area etc. Over 1,000 people opposed the original plans which were rejected last year, realising the plans would create an unacceptable level of noise and pollution, breach green belt restrictions, and destroy the landscape.
31 July 2012 (BBC)
and more at Redhill Aerodrome