Redhill Aerodrome

Redhill Aerodrome is 1.7 miles southeast of Redhill, in Surrey,  in green belt land. It  has a CAA Ordinary Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee.  On the 17th May 2012 it was announced that the owners of Redhill Aerodrome (RAVL – Redhill Aerodrome Ventures Ltd) had again submitted an application for a hard runway despite the previous plan being rejected in 2011.Opponents at the time argued that the runway would “create an unacceptable level of noise and pollution and destroy the landscape”, including Sam Gymiah; MP for the neighbouring East Surrey constituency.  This has now been rejected. (June 2013) and the aerodrome’s appeal rejected in February 2014.

.


Redhill Aerodrome loses final fight for hard runway

October 09, 2014

A last ditch attempt for a hard runway has been thrown out. Redhill Aerodrome has lost its final battle to build a hard runway, following a Court of Appeal hearing on 9th October. The decision ends a long-running campaign by Krag – Keep Redhill Airfield Green – who argued that allowing a hard runway would be unjustified development on green belt land.

Following the judgement, Redhill Aerodrome chief executive Ann Bartaby told the Mirror: “We are disappointed but I think it’s good that after a long time. we now know exactly where we all stand and will be visiting the plans that we have been working on over the last few months for our business without the hard runway. …Things like the new Pilots Hub, a great cafe attracting loads of people. We want more pilots to visit the site, more people to have flying lessons. We’re hoping to have an airshow over the next year or so. We’re looking to make the best of it, helping our business survive.”  When asked whether the aerodrome will appeal against the decision, she said: “I will not be recommending that route.”    Full story

See also  http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/redhill-airport-plans-thrown-out-7915702


 

Legal battle over Redhill Aerodrome hard runway continues, with appeal against High Court Judgement

In 18th July a judge at London’s High Court, Mrs Justice Patterson, allowed Redhill Aerodrome Ltd’s appeal against refusal by Tandridge District Council and Reigate and Banstead Council, as well as a Government planning inspector, of permission for a new hard runway. As a result, Eric Pickles would have the proposal reconsidered. The judge said the Government inspector who turned down the plan had taken an “impermissible approach” to planning policy relating to sustainable development in the green belt and that this had “tainted” her ultimate conclusion. Then a few days later the Chief Planning Officer, and Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning at DCLG said: “We disagree with this ruling which is based on a very narrow interpretation of national planning policy. The Secretary of State is seeking permission to appeal the decision to ensure the high level of protection afforded to the Green Belt is maintained.” On 25th August is was revealed that the Treasury Solicitors and 2 local authorities have been granted leave to appeal The High Court judgement. This is likely to be in September 2014, on a date to be fixed. Opponents of the hard runway hope it will restore the inspector’s decision to refuse RAV planning permission for it.

Click here to view full story…


.

Details of the 30th July 2012 application are at http://www.redhillaerodrome.com/index.php/rwyplanapp12

The local planning authorities undertook a 21 day consultation on the planning application. The planning application will have a 16 week determination period, which means a decision is not expected before November 2012.  [Now at least December].

.


Information on Redhill Aerodrome on  Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redhill_Aerodrome


 

The aerodrome’s website is at http://www.redhillaerodrome.com

Redhill Aerodrome
Redhill
Surrey
RH1 5YP

Tel: 01737 823377

It location can be seen on this map Google Maps Link

 


News about Redhill Aerodrome:

30.7.2014

Piers Mason, Chief Planning Officer, and Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning at DCLG, have told Sam Gyimah MP that:

“We disagree with this ruling which is based on a very narrow interpretation of national planning policy. The Secretary of State is seeking permission to appeal the decision to
ensure the high level of protection afforded to the Green Belt is maintained.”

This matter will take time to progress. Sam Gyimah says he remains opposed to the concrete runway at Redhill Aerodrome and will do all in his power to prevent it.


 

KRAG PRESS RELEASE

15th April 2014

REDHILL AERODROME APPEAL INQUIRY – UPDATE

We recently received the news that RAV have lodged a further appeal against the decision of The Inspector to dismiss their appeal.

In simple terms this appeal is based on RAV’s view that The Inspector made an error in her interpretation of National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). They claim the error was material in the formation of her decision to dismiss their appeal and is thus unlawful. Accordingly, in their opinion, her decision should be quashed.

The present situation is that The Treasury Solicitors will now review the original decision. They have to decide whether to support the Inspectors decision or not.

If they decide to support the decision then they will disagree with the RAV opinion and the matter will be heard by the High Court for them to decide if a mistake has been made in the interpretation of the NPPF. If they decide not to support the Inspector’s decision then RAV will apply to the High Court to quash the decision and it is likely that a new Inspector will be appointed to start the appeal process again.

There do not appear to be any statutory time limits for The Treasury Solicitors to make known their decision and at time of writing no estimates of a time scale have been forthcoming.

http://www.kragnet.co.uk/


 

News on the March verdict of the inspector at the bottom of this page.  1.4.2014


 

“Gatwick Diamond” accuses local MPs of community ‘disservice’ after Redhill aerodrome appeal defeat

Feb 25th, 2014

The two Conservative MPs who publicly opposed Redhill aerodrome’s plans to build a hard runway have been accused of “doing their residents a disservice”. Amidst the fallout of the Planning Inspectorate’s decision on 18th February to dismiss Redhill Aerodrome’s appeal for a hard runway, Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of (ardently pro-new-runways) business group Gatwick Diamond, said Crispin Blunt MP and Sam Gyimah MP had done a disservice to residents by opposing the plans. The Planning Inspector had rejected the airport’s appeal against repeated refusals by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council of plans for the 3 grass runways to be replaced by a 1,349m hard surface runway, along with approach lighting, drainage and habitat management. The Gatwick Diamond group say a hard runway would be good for business in the area, claim jobs would be created by it, and try to scare local people that their jobs will be at risk. Mr Blunt described the airport’s business case as “disingenuous”, and Mr Gyimah said it was the wrong development in the wrong place.

Click here to view full story…

 

 

Redhill Aerodrome runway appeal, for a hard runway, dismissed by Planning Inspector

February 21, 2014

Plans to build a hard runway in place of its 3 existing grass runways at Redhil aerodrome have been refused by a planning inspector. The owners of Redhill Aerodrome, RAV, had wanted the hard runway in order to have aircraft movements all year, even in bad weather, and to increase the number of flights from 60,000 to 85,000 a year. Following last month’s public inquiry, the planning inspectorate ruled the development was “inappropriate” and could “harm the green belt”. Reigate and Banstead Council and Tandridge Council rejected the scheme last year, saying it was inapproprite development in Green Belt, so RAV appealed. Local residents groups and Surrey Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) were among objectors who gave evidence to the inquiry. Local Conservative MPs Crispin Blunt and Sam Gyimah lodged formal objections against the development, saying the economic case was weak and it would cause major detrimental impacts on the surrounding area. The airfield flooded as a result of heavy storms last month.     Click here to view full story…

 

Redhill aerodrome hard runway Inquiry continues into second week

January 11, 2014

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.     Click here to view full story…

 

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.”

Click here to view full story…

 

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)

Redhill Aerodrome in revised Surrey runway bid

Redhill airfield
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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-19059673

 

.


.

New Redhill Aerodrome hard runway application submitted in July

A hard runway at Redhill Aerodrome is back on the cards, after a new application was submitted to Tandridge District Council. The application is for one hard runway to replace the current 3 grass runways – which cannot be used in bad weather.  A  hard runway will attract bigger planes, give a more reliable service and allow more flights. This application follows similar proposals rejected by both Tandridge District Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council last year in the face of fierce public opposition. Redhill Aerodrome has slightly altered their previous proposals, in the hope that will overcome previous objections.  The plans are for movements to be at 85,000 per year, with a noise management plan in place, and the number of flights outside the stated operating hours of 7am to 10pm limited.  There are, as ever, the over-optimistic promises of hundreds of jobs.  Local protest group Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green (Krag) slammed the plans and said the latest application is very little different in substance from the one that was rejected last year.  Decision expected some time after November 2012? http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1419.

.

Earlier

17 May 2012 (BBC)

Redhill Aerodrome to submit new runway plan

Aerodrome boss Jon Horne said the new runway would create new jobs and bring economic benefits
The owners of a grass airfield in Surrey are to submit a revised application to build a hard runway.

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 and Banstead Councils turned down its original application in 2011.

Aerodrome boss Jon Horne said the new runway would create 170 new jobs and bring economic benefits.

The aerodrome, which is home to more than 20 companies employing hundreds of people, has been in operation for about 80 years.

‘Noise and pollution’

Mr Horne said the new plans would see the width of the proposed runway reduced, improved road safety and transport provision and better landscaping.

He added: “We have spent five months considering what the best course of action would be in respect of gaining approval for a hard runway at the aerodrome.

“The option to appeal the decisions against the scheme in 2011 was supported positively by strong legal advice, however, we currently believe the best way to proceed is by directly addressing the reasons for refusal in a new amended application.”

“Not only will this secure the existing 450 jobs supported by the aerodrome, but we believe it will lead to the creation of at least another 170 jobs over time as well as support and encourage other economic activity and regeneration in the local area,” he added.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition against the original plans which went before Tandridge and Reigate and Banstead councils in November and December 2011.

Opponents at the time, including East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah, said the new runway would create an unacceptable level of noise and pollutionand destroy the landscape.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-18105052


 

16 December 2011 (BBC)

Second council turns down Redhill runway plan

RAVL has said the new runway would created 170 new jobs and bring economic benefits

The owners of a grass airfield in Surrey are considering appealing after a second local council turned down an application to build a hard runway.

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 planning committee refused permission on Thursday, three weeks after Reigate and Banstead Council.

Aerodrome boss Jon Horne said it believed it had a robust case.

The aerodrome, which is home to more than 20 companies employing 350 people, has been in operation for about 80 years.

Its green belt site straddles the border between Tandridge and Reigate and Banstead.

A study carried out for Redhill Aerodrome Ventures Ltd (RAVL) showed the development could create 170 jobs and bring £8m a year into the local economy.

Opponents, including East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah, said the new runway would create an unacceptable level of noise and pollution and destroy the landscape.

Mr Horne said a decision on whether to appeal would be made fairly quickly.

“We are not going to let the grass grow under our feet,” he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-16223347

 

 

25 November 2011  (BBC)

Redhill airfield may appeal as runway rejected

RAVL has said the new runway would created 170 new jobs and bring economic benefits

The owners of a grass airfield in Surrey have said they may appeal after a planningapplication to build a hard runway was turned down.

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.

Reigate and Banstead Council turned down the plan this week. It goes before Tandridge planners on 15 December.

Aerodrome boss Jon Horne said it would then consider whether to appeal.

“We are not ruling anything in or out at the moment,” he said.

“We do not believe our case has been damaged by the Reigate and Banstead decision.”

The aerodrome, which is home to more than 20 companies employing 350 people, has been in operation for about 80 years.

Its green belt site straddles the border between Tandridge and Reigate and Banstead, whose councillors turned down the application by nine votes to seven.

‘Strong case’

Mr Horne said his company, Redhill Aerodrome Ventures Ltd, (RAVL) was disappointed but the vote was close.

“We still believe we have a very strong case for putting the runway in place,” he said.

“Its impact on the green belt is very, very minimal and that is outweighed by the economic benefit.”

A study carried out for RAVL shows the development could create 170 jobs and bring £8m a year into the local economy.

Opponents, including East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah, said the new runway would create an unacceptable level of noise and pollution and destroy the landscape.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition against the plans.

“The green belt is about openness,” said Chris Hoskins, of Nutfield Conservation Society.

“These proposals would start developing the green belt.

“It may be a concrete runway but it would be visually intrusive and create a lot more traffic and more noise over the area.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-15892512

 


 

20 June 2011 (BBC)

Redhill airfield bids to build hard runway

RAVL said the airfield was not subject to any restrictions on the number of flights

The owners of a grass airfield in Surrey have said they plan to submit an application to build a hard runway.

Redhill Aerodrome, near South Nutfield, is to apply for planning permission to replace its three grass runways with a Tarmac one to allow all-weather flying.

Many local residents are against the scheme, which they fear will lead to further development on the site, which occupies greenbelt land.

The airfield is home to more than 20 companies, employing about 350 people.

Chris Hoskins from the Nutfield Conservation Society said: “The main concern is it’s a greenbelt site.

“We are concerned that we will see this development creeping in there and then a hard runway will potentially lead on to other facilities – increased buildings.”

Jon Horne, chief executive of Redhill Aerodrome Ventures said: “Currently there is no limit [on the number of flights] but we have said we will enter a planning agreement that would limit flights to 85,000 in any one year.

“What we have is an airfield business that has been there for 80 years. The grass runways can be unusable for up to four months of the year because they become waterlogged.”

The aerodrome said it would submit the application in July and would not expect a decision until November at the earliest.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-13845075


 

5 October 2010(BBC)

Redhill airfield sets out new plan for hard runway

RAVL said the airfield was not subject to any restrictions on the number of flights

Plans to build a hard runway at a Surrey airfield to replace three existing grass runways are to go on show to the public.

Redhill Aerodrome’s master plan for the controversial green belt land five miles north of Gatwick, is the latest in a series of proposed developments.

Chief Executive Jon Horne said the runway would create a modern airfield that would secure jobs at the site.

But Keep Redhill Airfield Green (KRAG) campaigners said it was not necessary.

The airfield is home to 23 businesses, including Bristow Helicopters, providing more than 300 jobs.

‘Minimal change’

Redhill Aerodrome Ventures Ltd (RAVL) has made several unsuccessful planning applications since it bought the site in 1991.

Mr Horne said RAVL did not want to increase the size of the airfield, which was not subject to any planning controls on the number of flights it could operate.

With a hard runway, it hoped to return to the 100,000 movements a year common in the late 1990s.

“The scale of the change that we are seeking is minimal,” he said.

“The open aspect of the green belt is not going to be altered.

“What we want to do is to create the circumstances that enable a modern airfield to operate sustainably.”

Exhibition of plans

KRAG spokesman Peter Charman said the fundamental issue was development in the green belt.

“A large percentage of the aircraft movements are helicopter movements that don’t require a hard runway,” he said.

“I also think most of the employment there is not related to a hard runway.”

An exhibition of the master plan is being held at the aerodrome on 8 and 9 October, with RAVL asking for comments from the public by 31 October.

A final version will be published by the end of this year ahead of a formal planning application.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-11479376

 


 

14 February 2007 (BBC)

Greenbelt row over airfield plans

Plans to improve an airfield in Surrey are going on display to the public amid controversy over whether the land is suitable for housing.

The owner of Redhill Aerodrome, Redhill Aerodrome Ventures Ltd (RAVL), wants to build either a year-round airfield or a 2,000-home village-style estate.

MPs Crispin Blunt and Peter Ainsworth say housing would breach the greenbelt.

But RAVL spokesman Paul Dimoldenberg said it would be up to the local councils to make a final decision.

One proposal is to replace the grass runway with a 900m hard runway, improve the control tower and build a new passenger terminal.

That scheme goes on public display on Thursday at the Aerodrome Cafe.

RAVL has already held a public exhibition on the other option, for the 2,000 new homes.

But MP for East Surrey, Mr Ainsworth, and MP for Reigate, Mr Blunt, turned down an invitation to a workshop to consider the design of the new village.

“We believe such a development would be a fundamental breach of greenbelt policy as well as yet more development on an already overloaded local infrastructure,” said Mr Blunt.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper confirmed in a letter to the two MPs last month that the airfield was greenbelt.

“There is no presumption that previously-developed land is suitable for housing,” she said.

Mr Blunt said: “I hope Redhill Aerodrome will finally accept that the land is not automatically brownfield.”

RAVL has not yet submitted formal planning applications to the Reigate and Banstead and Tandridge councils.

“It is a work in progress,” said Mr Dimoldenberg.

“We believe it is a brownfield site and something for the local authorities to decide. It could eventually lead to appeal.”ceptable level of noise and pollution and destroy the landscape.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/surrey/6362535.stm

 

 


.

Redhill Runway verdict – Jan Cook-Cllr, Salford & Sidlow Parish

1.4.2014

We heard last night that the applicants have appealed the Inspector’s decision. We expected that they would.

My reading of the appeal document is that they are claiming the Inspector has misinterpreted the National Policy Planning Framework and that the decision is vitiated by an error of law. They seem to be saying that where the NPPF speaks of “Very special circumstances will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness , and any other harm (applicant’s emphasis) is clearly outweighed by other considerations”, “any other harm” should relate to the Green Belt only ie she should not have taken into consideration noise, highways etc.

 

Now to the appeal. This is largely a precis of the Inspector’s decision.

 

Redhill Aerodrome appealed against the refusals by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council to permit the building of a hard runway and associated works at the Aerodrome at an Inquiry held over 5 days plus an accompanied site visit.

 

The appeals against both Councils’ decisions were dismissed.

 

Salfords and Sidlow Parish Council, Nutfield Parish Council and KRAG (Keep Redhill Airfield Green) had Rule 6 status. In addition to all the main parties, a number of people gave their own evidence, most of whom objected to the proposal.

To the concern of others Reigate and Banstead and Tandridge reduced their objection to simply grounds of harm to the Green Belt, accepting that noise and disturbance to residents was not a ground for refusal. Harm from noise was restricted to the effect on the landscape character. In the event, harm to the Green Belt was the main reason for the refusal.

 

Surrey County Council who had previously objected on highways grounds, withdrew their objection on completion of a unilateral undertaking by the applicant, being satisfied that the package of measures and planning measures would secure effective mitigation. This also involved the applicant contributing c £174,000? towards these works on two major junctions and smaller sites. R&B and TDC withdrew the reasons for refusal based on highway safety and sustainable travel grounds and presented no evidence at the Inquiry on such matters.

 

Despite this the Inspector included in possible sources of harm to be considered “The effect of the proposal on highway capacity and safety” and also noise.

 

The Inspector accepted that the hard runway would not preserve the openness of the Green Belt and would “conflict with a purpose of including land within it”.

 

She considered that the harm to the Green Belt had substantial weight.

 

Landscape Character and visual amenity

The inspector concluded that the proposal would result in a slight adverse visual impact to which she attached a small amount of weight.

 

Noise and Disturbance

The Inspector accepted that the noise environment would change and for some residents, albeit a small number of individuals, the change would impact on their living conditions and reduce their quality of life. The adverse change would not be unacceptable but should not be ignored. Salfords Primary School is in a vulnerable location near the flight path and is noise sensitive. She referred to the Chairman of the Governors being able to speak from first hand knowledge and experience. She stated that even allowing for the realignment of the new runway, the proposal would be likely to result in some deterioration in learning conditions and adaptation of teaching practices.

 

She concluded that the position is not one where planning permission should be refused on the grounds of noise alone but that the proposal would erode the quality of life and detract from the learning environment by reason of noise disturbance. She attached some weight to the effects of noise and disturbance on the local communities.

 

Highway network and sustainable transport

The Inspector stated that the highway network surrounding the Aerodrome consists of rural classified un-numbered roads that provide links to the principal roads, the A23 and A25. The roads are rural in character and variable in width with restricted visibility in places. She said that Kings Mill Lane (on which the entrance to the aerodrome lies) in particular is winding and evidence was given about the accidents and incidents that have occurred on the highway.The rural roads have no footpaths. Strong objections on highways grounds were made by the Rule 6 parties and by interested third parties and residents.

 

There are problems relating to capacity at the junctions with the A23 and A25. The terms of the unilateral agreement allowed for the mitigation payment to be made by 30th November 2019 at the latest so there is no certainty over the funding or timescale for the junction improvements to be carried out. Any improvements should be done before development begins.

 

On Highway safety, the Inspector spoke of the review of the “Official” accident record for King’s Mill Lane from January 2007 to September 2012 (accidents which the police recorded – they do not record all they attend). The record showed a significant number of the 18 accidents occurred at four bends between Masons Bridge Road and the aerodrome entrance. The Highway Authority also identified a cluster of accidents at the junctions of Picketts Lane, Axes Lane, Honeycrock Lane and Masons Bridge Road – all being on the route for vehicles travelling to and from the South. Residents gave personal accounts of the many incidents and accidents on King’s Mill Lane, despite the attempts to improve signage. I spoke on accidents in Kings Mill Lane and supplied four pages of photographs of 20 accidents in 2013/14.

 

The Inspector concluded that despite the suggested safety improvements the inherent hazardous nature of Kings Mill Lane would remain.

 

The applicants claimed that their access was better than Biggin Hill’s which is off an A road!

 

The Inspector concluded that the transport infrastructure serving the Aerodrome has serious inadequacies, especially seen in the winding character of Kings Mill Lane, the congestion already experienced at key junctions during the peak hour and the inconvenience and inability to use public transport. It is not well located to promote sustainable transport solutions.

 

The failure to satisfactorily resolve the capacity and mode of travel issues and the difficult local conditions along Kings Mill Lane meant that the associated harm provided some weight against the proposal.

 

Airspace safety

The Inspector found it of particular relevance that no objections or issues were raised in the statutory consultations with Gatwick Airport and NATS on the planning application. The appellant’s case was that nothing changes at Redhill in terms of air traffic control with a hard runway and that they would not impact on existing airspace arrangements.

 

Although the aerodrome is near to residential areas the proposal is not likely to significantly increase risk to the safety of these areas. In the light of the evidence the Inspector attached no weight to the air traffic control issue in the context of this particular proposal for development.

 

Cultural heritage

The Inspector concluded that the setting of nearby listed buildings would be preserved.

 

Air Quality

No technical evidence was produced to lead the Inspector to question the conclusion of the Environmental Survey that the proposal would not have any significant effects on air quality.

 

Localism

Local communities were able to present their cases. All representations, including those of local businesses have to be taken into account and weighed in the balance.

 

Employment and economy

She said that a core planning principle of the Framewrok is that planning should proactively drive and support economic growth through the planning system. The economic benefit of aerodromes of varying sizes across the UK are specifically recognised in the APF. Even so the benefits should be balanced against all other considerations.

 

Fixed wing and helicopter figures have declined and the appellant’s case was that a hard runway is essential to reversing the decline.

 

The Inspector said that every year the grass runways are subject to waterlogging leading to restrictions on use but that despite this businesses have located to Redhill in full knowledge of the grass runways and presumably their limitations. Mr Le Blond of Biggin Hill gave evidence that decline has not only affected Redhill but also Biggin Hill despite two hard runways. He reported an almost continuous decline in Aero Club activity which he believed was a common trend at UK airports due to the widening of opportunities for flight training. He also referred to its seasonality, regardless of runway conditions. Ann Bartaby (Redhill) disagreed but could not substantiate her assertion.

 

The Inspector concluded that decline in aircraft movements at Redhill has been due to various reasons, although the grass runways are a very significant factor.

 

Value to the aerodrome and economic contribution

A primary purpose of the hard runway is to allow existing Redhill companies to sustain their business and grow. Integral to this aim is to attract and expand business aviation.

On the assumption that the aerodrome handles 85,000 movements a year by 2030, the expectation is an additional 140 FTE jobs, of which 120 would be direct aviation-related jobs, and a net GVA impact of £12.4m per annum.

 

Displacement from Biggin Hill was shown to be minimal because the two airports would serve different markets.

 

Opinions varied as to the significance and value to the area of the forecast economic growth and increase in employment. The area has a very low unemployment rate – 1.3% for Tandridge and 1.4% for Reigate and Banstead. Crispin Blunt MP in his evidence explained that the importing of jobs into the area was not regarded as a priority, especially when the jobs would come with a heavy environmental penalty. There was concern over the pressure being placed on local infrastructure, housing and services.

 

The Inspector considered that the development of the aerodrome would improve accessibility and transport options, notably for local businesses with international links. As growth would be over a period up to 2030 it would ease any pressure placed on social infrastructure of the area. However, the gradual increase over a 15 year period would lessen the significance of the contribution to local employment, especially in an area that enjoys a relatively low unemployment rate.

 

Existing employment and aerodrome operation

The appellant claimed that the financial position of the Redhill Aerodrome Group was precarious and new income streams seen as vital. They said there was a very real risk that the loss of tenants would result in the Aerodrome’s closure with the loss of all aviation related activity and some non-aviation jobs also. The Inspector said there is a good case for a hard runway on operational grounds but more contentious is whether the failure to gain planning permission for the hard runway would lead to the closure of the aerodrome. After reviewing the various evidence, she concluded that she was sceptical about its closure and examination of the evidence indicates the risk may not be as real as the Appellant contends. The possibility adds limited weight in favour of the scheme.

 

Use of existing infrastructure

The Inspector attached little weight to the best use of infrastructure argument.

 

Effect on the local environment

The Inspector concluded that the proposals on flood alleviation and habitat enhancement are to ensure compliance with policy requirements and the avoidance of harm. Therefore they do not merit positive weight in the Green Belt balance.

 

Control on operations at the aerodrome

The Inspector concluded that the prospective controls add little weight in favour of the development.

 

CONCLUSIONS

The harm to the Green Belt by reason of the inappropriate development, the loss of openness and the encroachment into the countryside has substantial weight. The harm to the landscape character has moderate weight and the slight adverse visual impact a small amount of weight. The limited harm to the quality of life and learning environment through noise disturbance and the failure to satisfactorily resolve the capacity and mode of travel issues provide additional weight against the proposal. The overall weight against the proposals is very strong. This conclusion takes account of the mitigation afforded by the use of planning conditions and planning obligations.

 

On the positive side, safeguarding employment and the prospect of an additional 140 FTE jobs and a net GVA impact of £12.4m per annum by 2030 are realistic outcomes. The expansion of business aviation and support to business initiatives in the area would be beneficial. These contributions to the local economy have significant weight. The risk of aerodrome closure, with all the associated effects, is a consideration that provides a limited amount of additional weight. The use of infrastructure and improvements to the local environment as a result of the development provide little weight to support the proposal.

 

The other considerations, when taken together, do not clearly outweigh the potential harm to the Green Belt and the other identified harm. Very special circumstances to justify the development do not exist. The proposed hard runway development fails to comply with national policy to protect the Green Belt set out in the Framework. In addition there is conflict with Policy Co1 and Policy RE2 of the development plan.

 

The environmental harm to an area that has a high degree of protection and is valued by the surrounding communities would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the economic benefits. The proposal would not deliver a sustainable development.

 

For the above reasons and having taken account of all other matters the Inspector concluded that the appeals should be dismissed.

 

WHY WERE WE SUCCESSFUL?

1. Community involvement and co-operation.

The two Parish Councils and KRAG were instrumental in involving the public. Salfords and Sidlow PC held public meetings which were well attended – standing room only – when we invited the applicants to put their case.

 

KRAG (Keep Redhill Airfield Green) which has been in existence since early 1980s was very active in keeping the issue to the forefront of peoples’ minds. They issued regular press releases, gained Rule 6 status and spent a vast amount of time in preparing their case. (The Parish Councils used experts.)

 

The two Parish Councils worked together and liaised with KRAG.

 

2. Residents’ attendance at the Inquiry

The hall was packed on the first day, many standing and outside the hall. There was a very good attendance every day.

 

3. Residents’ willingness to speak at the Inquiry

The Inquiry over-ran due to the large number of residents and others who wished to speak.

Especially important were: Gillian for CPRE – full and cogent objection with the clout of CPRE; and the Chairman of the Governors of the Salfords First School.

 

NB The applicants employed two planning barristers, one (Christopher Katkowski QC) is, I understand, the top planning barrister.

.

.

.