|West Sussex Structure Plan - A Threat to
Deposit Draft of the West Sussex Structure Plan is now available. Draft policy NE17
relates to Gatwick Airport, while NE18 relates specifically to General Aviation (GA). The
latter policy concentrates upon the "safe and efficient operation" of both
Goodwood Airfield and Shoreham Airport and generally supports their continued operation.
However, the final sentence of part (a) states:
"Elsewhere, proposals for new or extended general aviation facilities should not
Paragraph 241 in the accompanying text advises
"There are a few other places in West Sussex where general aviation activity
takes place on a smaller scale: proposals to increase general aviation activity should be
resisted particularly if they would have an adverse impact upon the environment."
In effect, this amounts to restrictions upon
existing small sites and a proposed ban on any new flying sites in the County of West
Sussex. This is contrary to Central Government advice embodied in PPG1, PPG12 and PPG13 as
the draft policy is totally inflexible. If adopted it would become impossible for any
owner or operator to even contemplate establishing the smallest of airstrips in the
County. As a consequence, this policy is fundamentally flawed.
and individuals are therefore urged to submit representations to the County Council. These
should be made on a form which is obtainable from the address below, or the West Sussex
Structure Plan website.
must be made before 15th February 2002 and sent to:
The County Planning Officer (ref: splan)
West Sussex County Council
Bloomfield, GAAC Planning Co-ordinator, has suggested a number of bullet points for
inclusion. Please add your own and do not feel obliged to use all these points.
||GA plays an
important role in West Sussex in a number of ways:
- It forms an essential element in the overall
- It brings considerable economic benefits to an
area in assisting the functioning of businesses and fostering links with other parts of
the country and Europe.
- It broadens the range of recreational
facilities available in the area.
- It assists services such as the public
utilities, police, statutory undertakers (for survey work) and medical services (for organ
- It assists with pilot training.
||Agree with the
County Council's support for Goodwood and Shoreham, both of which are vital to General
Aviation (GA) in the UK and fulfil many of the above roles.
||However, a ban on
any new GA sites being considered in West Sussex is inflexible and contrary to Central
Government advice, especially that embodied in Annex B of PPG13.
||A balanced policy
is therefore suggested for inclusion within the Structure Plan. This would be more
positive towards general aviation yet provide adequate safeguards in terms of
environmental issues. It would also provide clear guidelines to any potential operator who
may wish to establish a landing strip or heli-pad within the West Sussex area.
||Clear criteria help
both potential applicants and Local Planning Authority officers in determining an
application, in accordance with s.54a of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Suggested draft GA policy
"The establishment of flying sites
for all types of aviation activity, or changes to operations at existing sites, will be
considered on their merits having regard to the following:
- The economic and employment advantages
- The broadening of the range of recreation
provision available within the County.
- The likely impact upon residential and
other noise sensitive properties in the immediate vicinity (i.e. under flight paths and
circuits), by virtue of noise and disturbance.
- The locational benefits to public services.
- The site's role in the overall transport
infrastructure of the County, having regard to site access and sustainable development
- Visual impact.
- The impact on nature conservation
Having regard to Government advice, in
PPG13 and PPG24 in particular, restrictions upon the number, type and times of movements
would be the subject of conditions attached to any grant of permission as required in the
specific circumstances of the case."
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