The latest news from light aviation
Brownfield airfields still under threat?
First Posted: Mon 11 Dec 2006
Airfields: green, brown or available for housing?
The GAAC (General Aviation Awareness Council) has reacted to the government's latest draft guidelines for Local Authorities. These were highlighted on our forums earlier this year.
The main cause of concern is that a clause which had previously exempted airfields from being 'brownfield' sites has now been omitted, leaving the door open for them to be developed. The clause causing concern used to say:
“However, this does not mean that the whole area of the curtilage should therefore be redeveloped. For example, where the footprint of a building only occupies a proportion of a site of which the remainder is open land (such as an airfield or hospital) the whole site should not normally be developed to the boundary of the curtilage.”
The new draft proposal simply says:
“There is no presumption that land that is previously developed is necessarily suitable for housing development nor that the whole of the curtilage should be developed.”
The GAAC says: 'The new draft guidelines omit the crucial exemption clause opening up the very real possibility of airfields being regarded as potential building sites. The GA community responded to the alert raised by the GAAC, AOPA and the aviation press and the Government reacted by saying that the ommission "was a mistake and not Government policy". Despite this, and the recent favourable response to the in-depth studies of GA by the CAA, the vital exemption clause has not been re-instated as the Government promised.'
In particular, at the recent CAA Conference the aviation minister (from the Department for Transport) said “We (the DfT) understand the value of maintaining a network of general aviation airfields – not just to you (the GA Community) but to all of us. And I can can confirm today that we are looking at how to move this forward, including the possibility of a national policy statement.”
The latest version of the Planning Policy Statement was issued in November 2006, and is up for consultation before 27th February next year. You can read it on line by going to the Communities and Local Government website, where there's a lot of other information.