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West Sussex Structure Plan - A Threat to GA
Deadline Expired: 15/02/02
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Alert The 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 be permitted."

Paragraph 241 in the accompanying text advises that:
"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.

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Action Organisations 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.

Representations must be made before 15th February 2002 and sent to:

The County Planning Officer (ref: splan)
West Sussex County Council
County Hall
PO19 1RH

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More Info Anna 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.
  1. It forms an essential element in the overall transport infrastructure.
  2. 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.
  3. It broadens the range of recreational facilities available in the area.
  4. It assists services such as the public utilities, police, statutory undertakers (for survey work) and medical services (for organ donations etc).
  5. It assists with pilot training.
GA plays an important role in West Sussex in a number of ways:
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:

  1. The economic and employment advantages arising.
  2. The broadening of the range of recreation provision available within the County.
  3. 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.
  4. The locational benefits to public services.
  5. The site's role in the overall transport infrastructure of the County, having regard to site access and sustainable development issues.
  6. Visual impact.
  7. The impact on nature conservation interests.

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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sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)Draft Structure Plan

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