Town council objects to Almondsbury helibase following pressure from residents

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

Members of Bradley Stoke Town Council’s (BSTC’s) Planning Committee have voted to object to a planning application for a new helicopter base on land near the M4/M5 Almondsbury Interchange, following petitioning by local residents.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) chose to quash its original decision to grant permission for the new emergency services helibase after an Almondsbury resident asked for the decision to be judicially reviewed.

SGC subsequently reopened the consultation process on the planning application and its Development Control (West) Committee will be asked to “re-determine” it once a new officer report has been prepared.

Extracts from the draft minutes of recent BSTC meetings at which local residents spoke against the application are shown below.

Full Council, 9th March 2016

Mr Griffiths, Foxfield Avenue, raised concerns about the impact on Bradley Stoke residents relating to planning application PT15/1438/F (construction of the new operations base for emergency helicopters). He explained that there is more information available for councillors to consider and urged the Town Council to review their stance on this application. The Chair, Cllr Roger Avenin thanked Mr Griffiths for his comments and asked for the matter to be added to the Planning & Environment Committee meeting agenda on 23rd March 2016.

Planning & Environment Committee, 23rd March 2016

The Town Clerk informed the meeting that Council originally considered the application last May and when it came up again in January 2016, no decisions were actually made, councillors were just advised that SGC had advised that all original comments from May 2015 were still relevant.
Therefore if councillors did decide they wanted to submit more comments that would be possible without having to invoke the Standing Order relating to no reconsideration within six months. However, it is worth noting that councillors’ original comments did reflect the impact of noise on Bradley Stoke residents.

The Chair, Cllr Andy Ward, invited the residents to speak in relation to this agenda item. Mr Griffiths, Foxfield Avenue, has circulated information to councillors raising concerns about the proposals and the significant impact that the proposed helicopter base will have on the lives of residents of Bradley Stoke.

Jean Manning and Karen Baker, The Park, raised concerns that, if emergency helicopter bases are being closed down across the country, the use from the base at Almondsbury will only increase. There is a need to fight this proposal now, otherwise, if it is granted, there will be nothing anyone can do. Once the base is in situ, it will set a precedent for other things. The residents felt that BSTC have not kept them informed of the developments.

The Chair, Cllr Andy Ward, commented that the Town Council were aware of the strength of feeling when they considered the application in May 2015.

Following discussion, Cllr Paul Hardwick proposed that Bradley Stoke Town Council now OBJECTS to this planning application on grounds of unclear results from the original ARUP Noise and Vibration Assessment and asks for the other 30 possible sites for the siting of the emergency helicopter base be revisited, seconded by Cllr Andy Ward, carried unanimously. The Chair thanked the residents for attending the meeting.

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This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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  1. I hope that Mr Griffiths of Foxfield Avenue is never in need of an Air Ambulance. The Ambulance saves lives on a daily basis. What a selfish attitude.

  2. In response to Jeremy Parkward, just because there are objections to the heliport doesn’t mean the service ends, there isn’t a need to move from Filton Airfield. If you read the application it states quite clearly that if an alternative site isn’t found it will remain where it is.

  3. Maybe the statistics are skewed due to where we are geographically but I read that 9% of the incident locations air ambulances attended in 2015 were inaccessible by road and 61% were equestrian incidents.

    So, I suspect those of us living in the concrete jungles of North Bristol will never have the need for the services of an air ambulance.

    Which figures……where would an air ambulance land in Bradley Stoke?

  4. Good point CavendishMuppet Bradley Stoke is either built up or dug up. I can think of a park that they don’t want people to run round not to far away.That is another story though!

    From BAE Systems in their planning application.

    BAE Systems, which owned the airfield at the time of the original planning application, and has plans to redevelop it with 2,675 residential dwellings and up to 24ha of commercial use, said it was 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”

    Yes pull on the heart strings about the affordable housing content!

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