Redhill aerodrome hard runway application public inquiry to last several days
Date added: January 7, 2014
Redhill Aerodrome has for years been trying to get a hard surfaced runway, to replace its current grass runway, so it can operate larger planes and it can also operate in wet weather. Their application has been rejected, most recently in June 2013 by both Tandridge and Reigate & Banstead councils. The public inquiry into the hard runway plans takes place on 7th January 2014, in Redhill, and will last several days. As well as the two district councils opposing the plans, they are also being fought by two parish councils and the local campaign group, KRAG. The extent of the damage to the Green Belt, and to the local community, is a key issue in the Inquiry. “One of the 5 purposes of Green Belt policy is to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. The introduction of the proposed development would not assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment; it would conflict with that purpose.” The jobs argument is being used by the airport’s legal team, which claims a hard runway would secure the 140 on-site jobs and create 120 more jobs by 2030. The local community group, Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green branded the Aerodrome’s case as “weak” and “contains numerous assumptions, unsubstantiated statements, omissions and factors which remain unproven.”.
Chris Lovett, a member of the GACC executive committee, will be speaking at the public inquiry opening on the 7th January, into Redhill Aerodrome Limited’s (RAL) latest attempt to obtain planning permission for a hard runway. He will be supporting the objections of the Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council.
Chris says: ‘Whilst GACC is the main environmental group concerned with Gatwick Airport, we have always resisted development at Redhill because it would compound the adverse effect on the area around Gatwick, and we have always supported Keep Redhill Airport Green (KRAG). We base our objection on our experience at Gatwick and our knowledge of national aviation policy.’
There are already too many aircraft in the Salfords / Earlswood area. It is overflown by aircraft taking off from Gatwick on both the 08R KEN/SAM route and on the 26L LAM route. Together these amount to nearly 50,000 aircraft a year. Gatwick Airport Ltd is planning an extra 30,000 flights a year – even without a second runway.
In their application Redhill Aerodrome Ltd (RAL) lay considerable stress on their proposal that aircraft movements should be capped at 85,000 a year.
85,000 is not a small number, in fact it is about one third of the movements at Gatwick in the past year – the second largest airport in the UK, and the busiest single runway airport in the world. The extra noise and pollution caused by an increase to 85,000 movements at Redhill would be intolerable, particularly because a hard runway would enable Redhill airport to handle larger planes.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in objecting to the application, states that “A major development such as the current hard runway proposal and associated intensification of use would be contrary to the concept of permanence because of the loss of openness and potential designation as brownfield land. We are aware that there have been previous plans for housing development and the change of status from greenfield land would assist change of use should the airport become unviable.”
The applicant hopes that business travellers will share road transport en route to the aerodrome. But as Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council point out: “The approach roads are narrow and winding and are unsuitable for the levels and types of Traffic that will result from the application. Kings Mill Lane has a high accident record and business aviation users will hardly share a transit van from the station.”
The applicant recognises that improved drainage would be necessary and states that “drainage requires replacement of a culvert with an open drainage channel, below ground runway edge drainage and the creation of shallow areas to retain flood water.”
Ironically nature recently created just such areas as television news showed, when the aerodrome was flooded. Last year by the applicants own admission the grass runway was unusable for 69 days between January and March. They claim that “(this) incidence of closed or restricted use is higher than historically.” (sic) It may be that this was unusual in the past, but climate trend indications are for more heavy rainfall in the future.’
Chris comments on the flooding: ‘It’s hard to see how the replacement of 33,725 square metres (3.27 Ha, 8.33 acres) of grass by tarmac, plus the construction of a new taxiway will help the surrounding area. That water has to go somewhere.’
Brendon Sewill, Chairman of GACC, added: ‘We are facing the threat of a second runway at Gatwick. A hard runway at Redhill would do nothing to reduce that threat. The thought of having both would mean that this area would be totally dominated by aircraft, and swamped, not only by water in times of flooding, but also by the very large number of airport workers who would need to move into the area.’
The public inquiry opens on Tuesday, 7th January 2014 at the Harlequin Theatre complex at 10:00.a.m.
Inquiry into hard runway at Redhill Aerodrome in underway
THE BATTLE lines have been drawn in what could be the final battle over a hard runway at Redhill Aerodrome.
More than 60 residents packed out the room at Redhill’s Harlequin Theatre to see the inquiry get underway on Tuesday.
In June 2013 both Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council rejected plans for a hard runway to replace the existing grass runways at the Kings Mill Lane, South Nutfield, airfield.
Residents and business leaders lined up to speak for and against the plan which is being opposed by both councils, along with two parish councils and the local campaign group.Reigate MP Crispin Blunt is scheduled to address the inquiry on the third morning (Thursday).
His Parliamentary colleague Sam Gyimah will not appear, telling the hearing though a spokesman he is “too busy”, but handed in a statement.
Stephen Whale, representing both councils, said each side agreed the proposed development will have an impact on the Green Belt and create new jobs.
But he said the degree of that impact was at the heart of the debate.
He told the hearing: “One of the five purposes of Green Belt policy is to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment.
“The introduction of the proposed development would not assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment; it would conflict with that purpose.”
However Christopher Katkowski QC, representing the Aerodrome, said the main sticking point was the all-year use the runway would allow and resident’s fears it will lead to more movements.
He argued the Aerodrome had been “in the Green Belt” throughout the 1990s when annual movements were around 90,000 – more than the 85,000 cap proposed as part of the development.
He said: “The ‘intensification’ argument doesn’t stand up to analysis in relation to the Green Belt.”
He added securing the 140 on-site jobs and creating 120 more jobs by 2030.
Paul Murray from Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green – which has been given official status to speak at the inquiry – branded the Aerodrome’s case “weak”.
He said: “It contains numerous assumptions, unsubstantiated statements, omissions and factors which remain unproven.”
The inquiry is set to continue until Friday, but Inspector Diane Lewis agreed an extra day may be required.
Redhill Aerodrome bosses ready for battle at tomorrow’s inquiry
By Surrey Mirror
January 06, 2014
By Michael Davies
THE chief executive of Redhill Aerodrome believes it has a “good chance” of succeeding at next week’s planning inquiry. Protesters and aerodrome bosses will come face-to-face tomorrow (Tuesday) over plans to build a hard runway at the South Nutfield site
The issue over the proposed development has been rumbling on for years and has come under fire from campaign groups, local authorities, residents, and local MPs Crispin Blunt and Sam Gyimah, who just a few weeks ago co-signed a letter of objection to the company’s plans.
Campaigners argue a hard runway would spoil the rural area, cause more noise and light pollution, and a loss of openness.
But speaking to the Mirror after submitting evidence to the inquiry Ann Bartaby, the chief executive of Redhill Aerodrome Ltd, which runs the site in Kings Mill Lane, said the aerodrome had developed a robust case for the inquiry and had a “good chance” of claiming victory.
“Everything’s different and that’s something people don’t seem to appreciate,” she said.
“It’s completely different; the whole circumstances have changed since the previous application. Going back 20-odd years to one of the appeals from 1985 there was no evidence put down on noise traffic and environment impact so the decision wasn’t made on a technical basis. But this time we have provided comprehensive technical information on these matters.”
In June last year, both Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council threw out proposals to replace the existing grass runways, but aerodrome bosses appealed, resulting in next week’s inquiry.
Reigate and Banstead councillors and objectors said a report by Portsmouth University, examining the business case for the runway, proved the airfield’s case lacked “academic rigour”.
But Mrs Bartaby said the report generally agreed with the aerodrome’s conclusions and said the Portsmouth University researchers weren’t aviation experts.
She said: “Our consultants have worked at almost every airport in the UK and have been judged to be reasonable and balanced.”
She added that the “special circumstances” needed for developing on the green belt site had been met.
“In terms of the green belt we believe we can demonstrate that the scale of the proposal and the very special circumstances that we put forward as an economic case in terms of the jobs and economic development is so significant that even if there was any slight harm to the green belt that would be outweighed by the economic case.”
A hard runway would help secure the future of the aerodrome and jobs, she added.
Several groups, including Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green (Krag) and Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council, will speak at the public inquiry, due to be held on Tuesday at Redhill’s Harlequin Theatre, in an attempt to block the bid.
Redhill Aerodrome bosses appeal against runway refusal
The aerodrome, in South Nutfield, has appealed against two council decisions to refuse plans for a hard runway at the site.
Redhill Aerodrome has submitted an appeal against a decision by two councils to refuse permission for a new hard runway.
In June Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council both turned down the aerodrome’s application to build the new runway, with drainage improvements and new lighting.
After the decisions, John Horne, aerodrome chief executive at the time, said he was looking to appeal and believed the aerodrome had an “excellent case”.
His replacement, Ann Bartaby, said the aerodrome is still confident it can overturn the original decisions.
“We believe on the basis of what has happened here in the last few years, if nothing changes it [business] will continue to decline, then over time there’s a strong chance there would be a loss in jobs,” she told Get Surrey. “It’s not just the staff [who are concerned], but also the businesses based here are very concerned.
“Last winter, when the weather was so appalling, a lot of businesses suffered and a lot of people are concerned about the future.”
Redhill Aerodrome wants to replace its grass runway with a 1,349m east-west runway at its South Nutfield site, as well as 420m of approach lighting at 60m intervals at either end of the runway on 5m columns.
In its original planning applications, the aerodrome said the runway would secure 450 jobs as well as potentially creating another 140 positions, generate £27.5m for the economy and allowing nearby businesses to grow.
But a study by the University of Portsmouth, commissioned by the local auhtorities to examine the aerodrome’s business case, said these claims were supported by limited evidence.
Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council opposed the application when it went before Reigate & Banstead’s planning committee.
Chairman David Brown said: “From our point of view we are disappointed but not surprised about this decision.
“We believe a hard runway would have a huge impact on the community.”
He added that the council will meet to discuss its response to the appeal process and the group would probably make a presentation during the inquiry.
Redhill Aerodrome has not had any significant discussions with outside organisations since the decisions were made by the two councils.
In the first part of the appeal, a questionnaire is to be sent out. Consultees who receive the questionnaire have until September 3 to respond while statements and comments from interested parties must be in by October 1.
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)
Redhill Aerodrome in revised Surrey runway bid
Aerodrome boss Jon Horne said the company had tried to address people’s genuine concerns
The owner of a Surrey airfield has submitted a revised application for a hard runway after its first bid failed.
Redhill Aerodrome wants to replace its three grass runways with a concrete one, giving it potential to increase flights from 60,000 to 85,000 a year.
Tandridge and Reigate councils turned down its original bid last year.
Aerodrome boss Jon Horne said this new application addressed the reasons for refusal in 2011 and the firm was confident it would be successful.
‘Minimal landscape change’
He said: “When it comes, that success will not just be for the aerodrome business, but it will secure and increase the 450 jobs it supports today to some 590 in future, as well as assist other local businesses and help attract much needed new investment into this area.”
Mr Horne said the company had spent over two years listening to people’s views and had sought to address their genuine concerns.
The revised application included minimal change to the landscape, reduced noise impact, and proposals to improve road safety and public transport connections, he added.
And he said the planned hard surface area had been reduced by 25%, but in other respects the application remained the same as that submitted in 2011.
He said the councils would carry out consultation and a decision was not expected before November.
More than 1,000 people signed a petition against the original plans which were rejected last year. Opponents said the new runway would create an unacceptable level of noise and pollution and destroy the landscape.