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Bentwaters: Campaigners hit back in row over Spitfire flying at former air base

10:00 23 June 2014

Archant

Campaigners fighting proposals to increase flying at a former military air base say they are not opposed to an historic Spitfire using the runway.

The Bentwaters Campaign Group (BCG) says it is trying to promote a “sensible and rational” debate about the future of flying from the site and its potential impact on the coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Pilot Carolyn Grace, whose company Air Leasing Ltd operates the Grace Spitfire ML407, withdrew from a display at the weekend’s Rendlesham Show, saying her decision was “a direct result” of the activities of the BCG.

A BCG spokesman strongly refuted the suggestion, saying Mrs Grace’s decision was fuelling unwarranted resentment against the campaign group.

He said: “The decision to withdraw from the event was Mrs Grace’s alone.

“Any suggestion that BCG is involved in it is wrong. The BCG did not make any comment about the event. It didn’t contact Suffolk Coastal District Council about it, and the district council did not, to our knowledge, say she could not fly either.”

The group says its critics have “mischievously suggested” that it is opposed to flying by the Spitfire from Bentwaters.

The spokesman said: “Bentwaters played a vital part in our war effort. So did the Spitfire.

“It is appropriate that this iconic aircraft should continue to fly from there. But under regulations covering deferred development rights, flying (or other activities) are allowed from Bentwaters 28 days a year.

“Based on the number of times the Spitfire has flown in recent seasons, this would seem entirely adequate for this heritage need.

“Many individuals have objected to proposals for flying by more aircraft at Bentwaters. That is the point.”

Opponents believe extra flying will destroy the tranquility of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, harm wildlife, and ruin one of the main reasons people visit the Suffolk Coastal area.

Bentwaters Parks says its blueprint for the future of the former 940-acre Cold War base seeks to regularise the activities already taking place.

It is seeking consent for the use of nearly 200 buildings as well as 960 air movements a year, which would include an air show, the flying of heritage planes and occasional business flights. It has denied that it is attempting to create a civil airport.

12 comments

  • The BCG really angers me do they even know why this particular spitfire is flown around here! I shull tell. Carolyn flys it in memory of her husband who re built it and never got a chance to fly it so she learnt to fly it. The BCG are only interested in one thing. . . Them selves. And i believe we should pertition against them for bullying yes bullying Carolyn. Singling out is a form of bullying.

    Report this comment

    buddygunner

    Saturday, June 28, 2014

  • @Emmy Lou - Dont worry, we are on that case and have been for a little while now.

    Report this comment

    Luk38644 .

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • If it is true that the people behind the BCG campaign are indeed local councillors, then surely their interests have to be reported, and they can have no input into the planning process? OK, so I don't know all the rules of local governement, but this really does stink of corruption!

    Report this comment

    Emmy Lou

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

  • People asking who are the people behind BCG, well, I can tell you exactly that! Mr Mike Sherwen (Melton Parish Council), Mrs Charlotte Morgan (Creator of the infamous leaflet) and Mr Oliver Morgan (Member of Tunstall Parish Council. These 3 seem to work tirelessly to scaremonger and lie through there teeth to help get there own way.

    Report this comment

    Luk38644 .

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • The leaflets that the campaigners (or in Rendlesham.little children) were pushing through peoples letter boxes had no contact information on them, i think this may be illegal ? The leaflet is viewable on their webpage.

    Report this comment

    milkyway

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • BCG just who are you,why in eadt do you hide behind a spokesman. Agree with amsterdam81 well said

    Report this comment

    saxon

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • Do BCG realise that as a working airfield the airspace around Bentwaters is restricted? If the planes stop flying from bentwaters then aircraft from outside the area will no longer have to avoid the area and will be allowed to fly lower. If BCG win they could find that flights and aircraft noise could actually increase in the area and they, nor the councils will have any control over it.

    Report this comment

    kevinwj

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • Not sure who these people are who think no one else should have a say in supporting something which seems entirely reasonable. Why is nobody saying anything about the helicopters fly to and from RAF Woodbridge? Surely much more of an issue if noise is their concern. Time for a decision. The Spitfire does nobody any harm, brings pleasure to a lot of people and needs financial support via support services for a few light aircraft. Difficult to understand why those that oppose this choose to hide behind an faceless organisation if they have something to say. Is it a one man band with no actual support?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • 'Fuelling unwarranted resentment against the campaign group'... what else did you expect BCG? The Spitfire is a historic, much loved aircraft and we are lucky to have such a fine example here in Suffolk - this nimbyism must stop or we'll have nothing left and no one will ever be allowed to do anything anywhere. People who stand against things and complain and seek to interfere with the business of others should not be surprised if now and again they find themselves on the wrong side of wider opinion. The suggestion that the site could become a civil airport is madness - the amount of investment needed alone means this would not be financially viable. This campaign is ill-conceived and rediculous.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • Well when the air base was in use there where thousands of very noisy flights a year and that had no impact on the wild life or visitor numbers. I fact the air base may have helped both. This is just nimbeism at its worst, additional heritage aircraft would bring more people. The fact that everyone forgets is that the Spitfire need to be financed to fly and this is done by allowing the organisation running it to servicemaintain other heritage aircraft.

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • Why is the BCG spokesman not named then? Just curious. Have they got something to hide?

    Report this comment

    ghaynes

    Monday, June 23, 2014

  • So sad have not seen the spitfire over Saxmundham for weeks, it was something to look foward to,now perhaps gone thanks to a few people.

    Report this comment

    saxon

    Monday, June 23, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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