Bagby Airfield: Proposal to transform controversy-hit airfield for long haul flights

The owner of an airfield which has been the focus of a long-running and high-profile planning row has applied to transform the facility into one designed for long haul private aircraft.

An extensive planning application lodged with North Yorkshire Council by Martin Scott states he hopes to change Bagby Airfield, south of Thirsk, from one used by hobbyist aircraft and microlights to a higher quality facility designed for modern turbo-prop aircraft with lower emissions and auditory impact.

The proposed development includes the rebuilding or extension of hangars, a maintenance facility, museum hangar and accommodation, a control tower and a workshop, retrospective consent for a new clubhouse and an extension to the runway all-weather surface.

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For most of the time since Mr Scott bought the 15.6ha airfield in 2006 some residents of Bagby and Thirkleby have complained noise from the site impacts on their quality of life.

Bagby Airfield, near Thirsk Picture: LDRSBagby Airfield, near Thirsk Picture: LDRS
Bagby Airfield, near Thirsk Picture: LDRS

The planning saga has seen several public inquires, Hambleton District Council being ordered to pay residents compensation, bitter village rows and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance moving its base from the airfield.

The latest of a string of proposals to develop the site comes five years after consent was granted to overhaul much of the airfield and a year after Mr Scott won a series of appeals against Hambleton council’s refusal of proposals, including the retention of hangars.

The application states the proposed changes will see a lower volume of movements at the airfield, higher fees from storage, fuel sales and maintenance, and reduced noise impact for local residents.

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It adds: “The provision of secure and high quality hangarage, a fully surfacedrunway and upgraded facilities, both recreational and functional, is critical to securing this transition.

“Due to its location and topography, Bagby Airfield is intrinsically limited to primarily non-commercial air transport operations and hobbyistsmall aircraft.

“The proposed development will help secure the airfield’s business development goals of attracting new and profitable client groups,shifting priority away from smaller aircraft which fly near to the airfield, to more modern, intrinsically quieter aircraft which will depart/arrive from further afield including EU or non-EU destinations.”

The proposal has attracted numerous letters of support to the council, with one stating the changes would greatly increase the utility of the airfield and its contribution to the local economy, allowing during wetter months and enhancing safety.

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However, Bagby and Balk Parish Council has called for the application to be withdrawn until an environmental impact assessment and safety audit have taken place.

A spokesman for the parish council wrote it was concerned about the increase in size of the runway.

In an objection, another resident said the application “documents do not support the change of use to a fully commercial airfield and away from a hobbyist facility ,but actually contradict it….”

In another objection, a resident wrote: “The proposals represent an exponential upscaling in infrastructure, significantly increasing the capacity for traffic with the consequential loss of amenity to neighbours.

“Employment generation is merely speculative, and the provision of accommodation and dining on site leaves no prospect for economic benefit for other hostelries in the locale.”

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