Parish and town councils to discuss Almondsbury Interchange helicopter base plans

Proposed new helicopter base for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and National Police Air Service in Almondsbury, Bristol.

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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  1. I attended the Almondsbury parish meeting and along with objections from local residents, heard some interesting expert opinions one being an aviation expert who used to fly out of Filton airport. According to him there is no wish to move to the proposed site plus there is the question of why no fuel dump has been included in the proposal which is absolutely vital to the operation. The land is also subject to flooding which if mixed with aviation fuel would travel down into bradley Stoke and through the streams here. Altogether, the objections were so strong that this site was unsuitable the council unanimously agreed to object to the plans

  2. The council might have objected to these plans but going by all the make over on this plot ready for the move looks like planning will be given

  3. I’ve no doubt that even if all local councils object to this proposal it will all be overturned at South glos planning meeting. Councillors can and will change their mind despite appearing to agree with residents. I can do more than put my case across and stand up for what I believe in. Provision was made by the developers for a heli base at Filton airfield when they first planned the massive development there. I don’t see any reason to relocate this vital service, certainly not just for a further 400 houses.

  4. When we were objecting to the inclusion of the airfield in the Core Strategy (on which it’s closure was predicated), the air ambulance was brought up as a major concern.
    Of course, BAE then promised that provision would be made for helicopters in the development, and wrote to GWAA to reiterate that.
    Those objecting found this dubious at the time; after all, who would buy a new house that backed onto a helicopter base? Of course, BAE knew this, hence why they’ve moved it to Almondsbury.

  5. Having just returned from the BSTC planning meeting it appears that current and future construction is the reason why the the helicopters can’t remain at the base!! Bert, you’re spot on! This was planned out all along!

  6. There are lots of potential sites for a helicopter base, they want this one because it’s close to the motorway. It needs to be close to the motorway because they want to co-locate it with fast cars which they will use at night time when the helicopters don’t fly. If you accept the car base can be in a different place then there’s all sorts of places you can put the helicopters.

  7. Just complain as usual about change ,
    And when you get your way .like when people complained
    About filton being a proper airport , and then it all shut down ,
    And is now being developed into a housing estate ,the same
    People are complaining about that , and reminiscing about our
    Airplane building history !

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