Parish councils in Almondsbury and Bradley Stoke are to discuss a controversial planning application for a proposed new helicopter base on on green belt land close to the M4/M5 junction, just across the M5 motorway from the RAC building in north Bradley Stoke.
The new base would serve the needs of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and National Police Air Service, whose helicopters are currently based at Filton Airfield.
BAe Systems, which owns the airfield and is intending to redevelop it with 2,675 residential dwellings and up to 24ha of commercial use, says it is necessary to relocate the helicopter base because leaving it at the airfield would lead to “the loss of approximately 400 residential dwellings and a significant proportion of affordable housing [within the new development]”.
Dozen of objections have already been registered against the planning application and an e-petition titled “Protect Almondsbury Greenbelt from BAE” has so far attracted 160 signatures. Points raised by the objectors include: unjustified development of green belt land, potential noise pollution, and the possibility of motorists being distracted by aircraft movements.
Local MP Jack Lopresti has also opposed the move, saying that he expects BAe Systems to honour a written guarantee, given at the time the airfield’s closure was announced in 2011, that a new home would be found for the air ambulance on the airfield site.
Almondsbury Parish Council’s Planning Committee is due to discuss the application at a meeting this evening (Tuesday 19th May) at The Old School Hall, Almondsbury, starting at 7.30pm [Agenda].
Although not a statutory consultee, as the site of the proposed development does not lie within the boundaries of the town, Bradley Stoke Town Council’s Planning Committee will discuss the application at a meeting on Wednesday evening (20th May) at the Jubilee Centre. This meeting follows the council’s Annual General Meeting and is expected to start at approximately 9pm.
No date has yet been set for South Gloucestershire Council, the local planning authority, to discuss the application
Image: Outline plan of the proposed new helicopter base (click to enlarge).
Related link: New helicopter base near the M4/M5 Almondsbury Interchange (The Journal)
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