Inspector dismissed Dunsfold Aerodrome appeal for Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use

People living near  Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey were pleased to learn that, on 5th April, the Inspector ruled against the aerodrome.  Dunsfold had appealed against a refusal by Waverley Borough Council to allow  the the appeal by the aerodrome for a  “Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use” (CLEUD). That would have meant there could be completely unrestricted use of the aerodrome, with no limits on number of flights, time of flights, amount of noise, amount of traffic generated, or anything else. Dunsfold based their case on what had been permitted on  1st July 1948 (the day the first Town and Country Planning Act became law).  Though the Inspector has ruled against the appeal, in 2018 the current situation changes, and the aerodrome hopes to do more aircraft maintenance etc.


Meanwhile, Dunsfold Park have appealed against the restrictions placed on them regarding flights during the Olympics.  Local residents are again opposing that (the restrictions included no more ATM’s and no Sunday flying).

Dunsfold Park claim that the underlying use in 2018  (10 years from the last key approval in 2008) is aviation but, clearly, it is restricted aviation and specifically for erection, repair and flight testing of aircraft and not for general aviation.

Dunsfold Park have obviously decided that if their appeal against conditions placed on the Olympics approval is dismissed, they’d better think of something else. So, they have put in another 2 planning applications for more flights and removal of flight restrictions during the Olympics – these have just been released on 16th April..

Appeal Decision

Inquiry held on 31 January, 1, 2, 3 & 7 February 2012
Site visits made on 24 January & 08 February 2012
by R O Evans BA(Hons) Solicitor MRTPI
an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Decision date: 5 April 2012

Appeal Ref: APP/R3650/X/11/2160100
Dunsfold Aerodrome, Dunsfold, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8TB

• The appeal is made under section 195 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as
amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 against a refusal to grant a
certificate of lawful use or development (LDC).

• The appeal is made by Dunsfold Park Limited against the decision of Waverley Borough

• The application Ref WA/2011/0520, registered on 4 April 2011, was refused by notice
dated 6 July 2011.

• The application was made under section 191(1)(a) of the Town and Country Planning
Act 1990 as amended.

• The use for which a certificate of lawful use or development is sought is the use of the
application land as an aerodrome for aviation activities, including for the start up,
taxiing, engine testing, ground running, take off and landing of aircraft, without
condition, restriction or limitation as to:

Number of aircraft
Number of take offs
Type of aircraft (whether fixed wing or rotary, civil or military, commercial or private,
training or non-training and whatever the origin or destination of the flight)
Size of aircraft
Weight of aircraft
Number of crew and passengers
Type and amount of freight
Period of use (hours, days, nights, weeks, weekends etc)
Surface traffic generation
Number of employees employed on or off the application land or persons generally on
or off the application land
Noise, air quality other emissions and environmental effects
Or otherwise
(as amplified by additional information received by the Council 10/05/11, 02/06/11 and

The appeal is dismissed.

………… and it ends:

that even if neither of those permissions is in force (for whatever reason), the
1951 permission does not include a use of the airfield, either by itself or as part
of the wider aerodrome, for unrestricted aviation activities.
For the above reasons therefore, the Council’s decision to refuse the application was well founded.



Statement from Dunsold Park, the Aerodrome owner:

Dunsfold Aerodrome Considers CLEUD Appeal Decision

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

On Friday 1st April 2011, Dunsfold Park Ltd submitted an application to Waverley Borough Council for a “Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use” (CLEUD) in connection with the use of the Aerodrome. The application was made under s191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for unrestricted aviation use of the application land as an aerodrome.

The purpose of the application set out through fact based evidence and law, the underlying lawful use of Dunsfold Aerodrome. An application under s191 is treated differently to a normal planning application; it is a legal matter and as such both the planning policy and planning merits of the use are irrelevant.

On the 1st July 1948 (the day the first Town and Country Planning Act became law), the use of the land was already established as an aerodrome (the use having begun during 1942 upon the completion of its construction that year) without any planning restriction or condition.

The use of the land for flying was confirmed when a permanent planning permission was granted in 1951, again without restriction. Despite numerous other planning permissions being granted over time, no further planning permission was required for the flying use of the Aerodrome. Any and all sub-sequent planning permissions granted for flying use were, in fact, unnecessary and the planning conditions attached to them cannot restrict the use of the land for flying and related purposes.

Waverley Borough Council dismissed the application and on Friday 2nd September 2011, Dunsfold Park Ltd submitted an appeal against this decision. A public inquiry commenced on 31st January 2012 at which a government appointed inspector and a legal advisor reviewed both sides of the case. On Thursday 5th April 2012 the decision on Dunsfold Park Ltd’s appeal was published.

The Inspector concluded that the 1951 planning permission is most likely the permanent base line planning permission, but a reversion to it can only take place upon the expiry of a temporary planning permission which he concludes is in force until 2018.

This point was also conceded by Waverley Borough Council during the inquiry and is in line with the position that Dunsfold Park Ltd has maintained since 2002, that the aerodrome has an underlying permanent consent for aviation.

In response to the decision Dunsfold Park Ltd comments: “Dunsfold Park Ltd’s legal team is still considering the Inspector’s decision in full as he has said we must wait until the current temporary position is concluded by 2018 at the latest, before reverting to our underlying permanent consent for aviation. However, we are extremely pleased to have made a significant leap forward in determining the aerodrome’s longer term future.

For the first time since we acquired the site in 2002, we are now in common agreement with Waverley Borough Council that our 1951 planning permission for the manufacture, repair, maintenance and flight testing of aircraft, which does not have any conditions restricting aviation movements, is the permanent underlying planning permission for the aerodrome, a view which the Inspector has also endorsed in his decision.

This enables us to begin the process of exploring the site’s future as an aviation centre in more detail and with much more certainty, given the Government’s support for aviation in the new National Planning Policy Statement (NPPF) which was published just before Easter.”



For more news and information on Dunsfold Aerodrome, and the background to the appeal for the CLEUD, see  Dunsfold Aerodrome