Posts Tagged ‘National Police Air Service’

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

Air ambulance and police chopper now operating out of new Almondsbury base

Posted on Saturday 1st December 2018 at 8:29 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of GWAAC crew with air ambulance G-GWAC on the apron of the new Almondsbury air base

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) has taken up tenancy of a new air base in Almondsbury. The move is a huge milestone for the charity, which had previously been operating from a hangar at the former Filton Airfield.

The air ambulance has been joined at the new site by the local police helicopter, which was also previously based at Filton.

In a move which would ensure stability for the life-saving charity, the landlords of the new base have offered GWAAC the opportunity to purchase the facility at a significantly reduced price.

GWAAC chief executive Anna Perry explains:

“We’re thrilled to have moved into the new air base at Almondsbury, however with our current tenancy agreement we could be asked to leave again after ten years. This could be extremely disruptive to our service. Owning our air base will ensure we can continue to carry out our life-saving work well into the future. It’s unlikely we will have the opportunity to buy a facility like this again.”

Earlier this year, GWAAC launched an urgent appeal to help them raise the additional £1.25 million needed to fund the purchase. They are half-way towards their target, but still have a long way to go. As a charity they rely on generous donations from members of the public to stay operational. Excitingly, if they can raise another £315,000 then a generous local organisation has pledged to double this money!

More: Almondsbury-based police helicopter is operational 24/7/365 »

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Almondsbury helibase decision quashed

Posted on Saturday 2nd April 2016 at 12:04 am by SH (Editor)

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

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has chosen to quash its decision to grant planning permission for a new helicopter base in Almondsbury, on a green belt site just across the M5 motorway from north Bradley Stoke, following a legal challenge from a determined objector.

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 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 [within the new development]”.

It was also claimed that the current site would be unsuitable due to demolition and construction activity in the vicinity of helicopter operations over many years.

Outline planning permission for the airfield redevelopment has since been granted and the site sold to a Malaysian property developer.

An SGC committee approved the helicopter base plans in July last year, but a resident of Almondsbury threatened to issue proceedings to judicially review the decision, on the grounds that the council had (1) failed to properly assess the environmental impact of the development; (2) failed to impose a noise monitoring condition; and (3) in assessing the required “very special circumstances” for development in the green belt, failed to take account of the fact that there was an option for the retention of the [helicopter] operation on its current site [at Filton Airfield].”

Having taken advice from an expert QC, who indicated that grounds (1) and (2) had a realistic prospect of being successfully argued at a judicial review, the council has chosen to quash its planning decision and “remake“ it, giving proper regard to grounds (1) and (2).

The expert QC advised the council that he considered ground (3) to have “little or no merit”.

More: Application will now "come back to the council to re-determine" »

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MP calls public meeting to discuss helicopter base planning application

Posted on Thursday 18th June 2015 at 8:58 pm by SH (Editor)

Jack Lopresti.

Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, has called a public meeting to discuss a planning application for a new operations base for the Great Western Air Ambulance and the police helicopter which has been submitted for a green belt site in Almondsbury, just across the M5 motorway from the RAC building in north Bradley Stoke.

The public meeting will be held on Friday 19th June, starting at 7pm, at the BAWA Club, 589 Southmead Road, Filton BS34 7RG.

The suggested site is immediately to the west of the M4/M5 interchange and the proposal is for it to be used to construct a hangar, take-off and landing areas for the helicopters, a weather station, car parking and a new access road.

Representatives from the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, BAE Systems (who own Filton Airfield, the existing base of the air ambulance and police helicopters) and South Gloucestershire Council will speak and answer questions at the meeting, which will be chaired by Mr Lopresti.

Mr Lopresti said:

“I have called this meeting to bring together residents of Almondsbury, BAe Systems, the Great Western Air Ambulance, the National Police Air Service and local councillors, so that all aspects of this proposal can be discussed.”

“I know how worried some of the residents of Almondsbury are about having a helicopter pad based so close to their homes. This meeting will provide a forum for everyone’s views to be aired before councillors make a final decision on the proposals.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s Development Control (West) Sites Inspection Sub-Committee will inspect the proposed site on Monday (22nd June) at approximately 9.45am. Members of the public are entitled to attend the site meeting and have their say on the application. The rendezvous for the public will be Almondsbury UWE Football Club, Gloucester Road, Almondsbury. Parking is available at Almondsbury Sports and Social Club.

Related link: Agenda and report for the site inspection meeting

More information: New helicopter base near the M4/M5 Almondsbury Interchange (The Journal)

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Councillors demand noise barrier if new helicopter base approved

Posted on Tuesday 9th June 2015 at 2:40 pm by SH (Editor)

Helicopter of the the Western Counties Air Operations Unit.

Bradley Stoke town councillors have demanded the provision of noise attenuation barriers for Woodlands Park and Ormonds Close should plans for a new helicopter base near the Almondsbury Interchange be approved by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC).

The new base would serve the needs of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) and National Police Air Service (NPAS), 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]”.

The decision came after Cooks Close resident Caroline Sullivan asked for the planning application to be considered by the town council’s Planning Committee on the grounds that residents in north Bradley Stoke had not been properly consulted by the applicants, Alder King (acting on behalf of BAe Systems).

Ms Sullivan described the proposed site as “totally unsuitable” due to its location within the green belt and said that residents in Woodlands Park in particular would be affected by the noise of helicopters taking off and landing, due to the poor soundproofing of their [‘park home’ style] properties.

The committee stopped short of raising a formal objection, on the grounds that the town council is not a statutory consultee as the site lies in another parish.

Scores of residents in Almondsbury have lodged objections to the application and an e-petition titled ‘Protect Almondsbury Greenbelt from BAE’ has so far attracted more than 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.

More: GWAAC boss says Almondsbury site is the only one suitable »

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