Landowners seek permission for airfield use despite operating for 12 years

Basingstoke Gazette: Landowners seek permission for airfield use despite operating for 12 years Landowners seek permission for airfield use despite operating for 12 years

LANDOWNERS near Winchester want permission for use of a grass airstrip.

The application to Winchester City Council would see the land at Crawley Down, off Andover Road, lawfully certified as a recreational airfield.

Known as the Barton Ashes Airfield, the site near Crawley already has two 800-metre airstrips, and has been used for over 12 years.

It operates on the 28-day rule which means users do not need a licence to land and take off if they use it less than 28 days a year.

Paul Grellier, who runs the airstrip next to his aircraft engineering business, said: “I rent a field from my landlord David Butler, and we started a small airstrip there. He decided to go for change of use there so we can use it more. It’s purely recreational and for people’s pleasure.”

The site is currently used by Group A aircraft, including micro lights, and Mr Grellier said he is concerned that local residents will be worried about the application.

“We are very careful about keeping it low-key so that we don’t upset anybody. It’s not going to turn into a Heathrow, there will still be a couple of trips a week but a few more in the summer, it’s not very busy at all.

“People that have not noticed an airfield for 12 years seem to get up in arms as soon as they see an application has gone through.”

David Selby, chairman of South Wonston Parish Council, said: “I don’t think anybody has made any complaints. As is stands at the moment, I didn’t know it was there. I think the parish council might have something to say about it, and I will be drawing it to their attention.”

A city council spokesman said the application is currently being processed.

He said: “The application is for a certificate confirming that the use of the land is lawful, on the basis that the land has been used in that way for more than 10 years. The application will therefore be decided by considering whether there is sufficient evidence to confirm this. Unlike a normal planning application, planning policy or other planning considerations are not relevant to consideration of the application.”

The landowner, David Butler, who applied for the lawfulness certificate, was unavailable for comment.

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