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

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.


MPs accused of community ‘disservice’ following Redhill aerodrome appeal defeat


Opponents and supporters of Redhill Aerodrome’s hard runway appeal give their reaction to the Planning Inspectorate’s dismissal of the scheme

MP Sam Gyimah and Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green (KRAG) campaigners celebrate after the planning inspector’s decision

The two MPs who publicly opposed an 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 to dismiss Redhill Aerdrome’s appeal for a hard runway, Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of business group Gatwick Diamond, said Crispin Blunt and Sam Gyimah had done a disservice to residents by opposing the plans.

On February 18, planning inspector Diane Lewis dismissed the aerodrome’s attempt to overturn decisions made by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Tandridge District Council to refuse permission for three grass runways to be replaced by a 1,349m hard surface along with approach lighting, drainage and habitat management.

Redhill Aerodrome’s application included a business case saying the runway would lead to 120 new jobs, the protection of existing positions and an extra £27.5m to the local economy.

Speaking after the decision, Mr Taylor said: “For the surrounding economy I think it sends out completely the wrong message to any business looking to move here. I think they [the opponents] have been incredibly short sighted. I think what they fail to see is not just jobs created but existing jobs that are under threat.

“What I find really distressing is two members of the Government both very happy at the prospect of employment for voters and residents being removed.

“I think they [the MPs] have done their residents a disservice.”

Mr Taylor said the environmental impact from the runway would have been minimal as it meant the aerodrome would be a fixed length and a cap was being proposed which is not in place now.

He also warned residents that aerodrome buildings could be converted to housing without the need to submit a planning application.


However opponents of Redhill Aerodrome’s hard runway proposal, including both Reigate MP Mr Blunt and East Surrey MP Mr Gyimah, have welcomed the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to dismiss its appeal.

The MPs, who both spoke out against the plans in the run-up to last month’s appeal, both publicly welcomed the verdict.

Mr Blunt described the business case as “disingenuous”, adding: “I am delighted that the planning inspector shares my view that we shouldn’t allow such heavy breach of national green belt policy on a weak economic argument. I’m very happy with today’s news.”

Meanwhile Mr Gyimah said: “Above all, this result is a testament to the persistent hard work of Keep Redhill Aerodrome Green (KRAG), Nutfield Parish Council, and the local residents who campaigned so strongly against this development.

“They have had the misery of fighting off speculative applications year after year, and I hope that this will be the last time they are called upon to do so.

“Both Tandridge District Council and Reigate & Banstead Borough Council recognised that this was the wrong development in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the Planning Inspectorate has rightly endorsed their position in the best interests of our community.”

Aerodrome bosses have expressed their disappointment at the inspector’s decision.

Speaking to Get Surrey, chief executive Ann Bartaby said: “The businesses here are very disappointed because a lot of people have, or had, ideas for the growth of their businesses and expanding or diversifying their businesses, which they will not be able to do.

“Our tenants are very loyal and I believe they will try to make the best of it.

“We are examining the decision of the inspector in great detail and we will probably have to live with what we have got.”






Earlier news about Redhill Aerodrome:


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…


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