Redhill aerodrome hard runway Inquiry continues into second week
Plans to build a hard runway and associated infrastructure at Redhill Aerodrome have been under examination this week at a Public Inquiry. The inquiry will continue into next week. The aerodrome currently has two grass runways but the owners want a hard runway to allow for larger aircraft, longer flying hours and year-round flying. They have made a succession of planning applications, all of which have been refused. The airfield is wholly within the Green Belt and is reached by narrow, winding lanes. The vast majority of local residents oppose it, as do the local MPs, Parish Councils, conservation groups and Surrey Green Party. The Inquiry has been packed and lively. Officers from Reigate & Banstead and Tandridge Councils defended the decision to refuse the runway, and individuals and representatives of local groups raised a very wide range of reasons for objecting, including noise, traffic and road safety, disruption of views and flooding. Green Belt is a key issue, as is the importance of “localism” so if local people are strongly against a proposal, that should mean it is rejected. The Inspector’s decision will be made some after the end of the inquiry.
Plane Speaking at Hard Runway Inquiry
Plans to build a hard runway and associated infrastructure at Redhill Aerodrome have been under examination this week at a Public Inquiry.
The aerodrome currently has two grass runways but the owners want a hard runway to allow for larger aircraft, longer flying hours and year-round flying. They have made a succession of planning applications, all of which have been refused.
The airfield is wholly within the Green Belt and is reached by narrow, winding lanes. The vast majority of local residents oppose it, as do the local MPs, Parish Councils, conservation groups and Surrey Green Party.
Local Greens have supported residents campaigning against the hard runway, and taken part in the Inquiry, which has run for four days so far and continues next week.
Noise, traffic, views, flooding….
The Inquiry has been packed and lively. Officers from Reigate & Banstead and Tandridge Councils defended the decision to refuse the runway, and individuals and representatives of local groups raised a very wide range of reasons for objecting, including noise, traffic and road safety, disruption of views and flooding.
Three key issues
Green Cllr Jonathan Essex spoke on Thursday. His speech covered three main areas:
- Green Belt: the hard runway, taxiways and associated development would reduce the ‘Green Belt gap’ between South Nutfield, Whitebushes and Earlswood.
- Sustainable Economic Growth: The aerodrome’s owners are arguing that the economic growth and jobs they hope to create with a hard runway outweigh the harm to the Green Belt. Jonathan argued that national planning policy refers to “sustainable economic growth”, which prioritises living within the planet’s environmental limits and ensuring a strong, healthy and just society.
- Localism: The Government’s localism policy means that one of the reasons we might now allow building in the Green Belt is if local people express that that is the way they would like to see sustainable economic growth in their community. If the locals are strongly against a proposal, that should surely mean it is rejected.
The aerodrome’s case
The aerodrome’s witnesses tried to dismiss concerns and claim that the aerodrome would have to close if it could not gain a hard runway – this despite the fact that the majority of jobs on the site are not related to aviation.
Under cross-examination, the aerodrome chief executive, Ann Bartaby, conceded that they will look for more helicopter business in the event of the planning application not going through, thus undermining the case that a hard runway is needed for the business to survive.
Not forgetting the climate
Greens also object to the intensification of flying at Redhill on climate grounds – any increase in flying is undesirable in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. However this did not form part of the reasons why the hard runway application was turned down, so was not an issue for debate at the Inquiry.
The Inquiry continues into next week. The Inspector will then consider all the evidence she has seen and heard, and come to a decision.
9 January 2014 (BBC)
Redhill runway ‘would help combat flooding’
Related BBC Stories
Building a concrete runway to replace grass at a Surrey airfield would help businesses cope with bad weather, it has told a public inquiry.
The owners of Redhill Aerodrome say replacing its three grass runways would protect 140 jobs and create 120 more.
Reigate and Banstead and Tandridge councils both rejected the scheme last year, saying the plans were inappropriate for the green belt.
The airfield flooded as a result of heavy storms in the last two weeks.
“At the moment we have a grass runway which gets waterlogged incredibly easily,” chief executive Ann Bartaby told the BBC.
“Any downpour at any time of the year can close our runway and that makes it incredibly difficult for the businesses that are trying to make a living on the aerodrome because they cant predict when they are going to be able to fly.”
The four-day public inquiry at the Harlequin Centre was due to end on Friday but may continue into next week.
Business leaders say transport and infrastructure are essential for the local economy.
“The jobs that are coming from this development and the existing jobs there are essential,” said Jeremy Taylor, from the Gatwick Diamond Business Association.
” I just wish the people in this area would embrace the opportunity rather than go against it.”
Residents groups and Surrey Campaign for the Protection of Rural England are among objectors who have given evidence to the inquiry.
They say intensified use of the airfield will lead to problems of noise, light pollution and increased traffic and that it would be out of character in the rural location.
Reigate Conservative MP Crispin Blunt is also speaking. He, and East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah, are both against the hard runway.
Planning inspector Diane Lewis has said she will look at particularly at the effect of the proposed development on nearby Salfords Primary School and air traffic safety.
Redhill aerodrome hard runway application public inquiry to last several days
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 create120 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.”
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…
and more news at