Bentwaters: Flying could ruin area’s tranquility and threaten £80m economy and jobs

Bentwaters is an airfield - why not use it for flying? Bentwaters is an airfield - why not use it for flying?

Friday, June 27, 2014
6:00 AM

Permitting an increase in flying at the former Bentwaters air base could ruin the tranquility of one of the most beautiful parts of Suffolk and damage its £80million economy, claim campaigners.

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Opponents of the blueprint for the site say extra flying would ruin one of the main reasons people choose to visit the coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – reducing visitor numbers and threatening jobs.

The Alde and Ore Association, a charity which aims to preserve and protect the Alde and Ore Estuary, has suggested flying activities at the base should be moved to the Imperial War Museum’s airstrip at Duxford.

Owners of the old base, Bentwaters Parks have denied the new limits will increase the number of flights significantly, with flights restricted by planning permission to an average of less than two per day, and said the planning application aims to regularize activities at the site and safeguard the future of the Grace Spitfire and seven other heritage planes housed there.

Campaigners against the move though dispute this.

Alison Andrews, chairman of the Alde and Ore Association, said: “Our concern is that increased flying will ruin the peace and tranquility for which this area is renowned.

“The estuary is internationally recognized and protected for its wildlife which will not survive disturbance of this magnitude.

“Visitors to the area contribute some £80m to the local economy.

“This would be damaged if the peace and tranquility of the area was lost just at the time when visitors are most likely to come, so reducing the number of visitors and local employment numbers.”

The association said its recent economic study found the top five words offered by those who completed a questionnaire about what they valued about the area were scenery, tranquility, countryside, beauty and peace.

The association claims the proposed 960 flying movements a year is far more than at present and included no limit of how many will be heritage or commercial flights.

In a report, it said: “There are already about 10 commercial flights a month now and these occur without planning permission.

“While no more than 20 flights (40 movements) a week is proposed, they could mostly happen on a fine summer’s weekend and would not necessarily be spread out over the week.

“One heritage aircraft is special but a further possible seven old planes plus commercial flights is a different order of magnitude.”

Steven Bainbridge, of Evolution Town Planning, agents for Bentwaters’ owners, said he had spoken to the chairman of the association to answer the issues they were raising and was willing to attend a meeting to speak to them.

He said: “The applicants have gone to significant expense to assess their development against these issues, including that of tranquility, in an Environment Impact Assessment.”

18 comments

  • Unfortunately the nimby tendency have the loudest voices, they move out to rural areas and try to pickle it as they want to see it, and deny all development and any possibility of jobs and employment as most of them are usually retired. This is a fantastic opportunity for Suffolk but as with all connections to anywhere from Suffolk it is always blighted by short sighted and insular views including at council level. One of the reasons Suffolk education is so poor and is always at the bottom of any league tables. There is a bigger world out there they just can't see it.

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    Athelfric

    Sunday, June 29, 2014

  • Just been on alde and ore assoc website,it appears they are against most anything. Another group that perhaps would like see suffolk county turned into a musuem.

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    saxon

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • I live on Suffolk Drive, across the A1152 from the Bentwaters complex. I have lived here for 11 years, during which time the aerial activity has been a source of wonder and delight, both to myself and to my guests. The sight and sound of the Spitfire and other vintage aircraft, to someone born during WW2 has a magical, almost mystical dimension. It is as if the Victors of Agincourt have come riding along the road. As I remark to my guests who are watching the Spitfire, it is one of the reasons that we are not conversing (or writing) in German. It is obvious that the level of flying is well within the limits that are and will exist. I feel that most of the complaints about flying activity should be directed at the military. The Chinook, Apache and Osprey aircraft are far noisier and have far less charm than the vintage aircraft, although from a technical point of view they are just as astounding. It would be a great loss if the vintage aircraft were forced to leave or drastically curtail their activities. The Grace Spitfire has put this part of Suffolk on the media map and film companies have followed. Surely the prospects for employment and income far outweigh the slight inconvenience that some of us may suffer. The fear of a great increase in flights is, given the planning retrictions proposed, misplaced

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    IvorG

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Quote - 'In a report, it said: “There are already about 10 commercial flights a month now and these occur without planning permission.', that is a total lie !! ,Can't say i've seen any Airbuses or Boeings operating out of there. 99.5% of aircraft that overfly the river AldeOreDeben are NOT from Bentwaters ,are these people to thick to know this ? These yachty types should be very careful - "He who reaps the wind sows the storm"

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    milkyway

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • I am sick to death with this, how ever did the Alde and Ore survive when we had two cold war operational bases with thousands of sorties flown a year. Please NIMBY,s crawl back under your stones and get a life while your at it, perhaps the paper might want to highlight the positives that may come from a couple of flights a day!!

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    True blue

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • OK his is now making me seriously ticked off. Why are these misguided, misleading and misinforming NIMBYs getting so much publicity through your newspaper. It really is pathetic how this proposal, which has the full support of those in Rendlesham, is being so incorrectly maligned by people in Councils and local authorities who are just trying to push and promote their own personal agendas which have not been raised by the people they claim to represent. There is definitely something a little disingenuous going on here to say the least. We have had flying out here for almost as long as airplanes have been invented, the landscape is conducive to it, so why can't a limited amount be continuing so as to provide jobs and delight to the local population. NIMBYs just go and make sure that no one is lighting up a BBQ outside their £100,000 Aldeburgh beach hut...but I guess that has nothing to do with anything does it.

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    Alan Scurrell

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • It's almost like the locals assuming their locals have forgotten there used bit a Military Airbase on that site :p In fact they had twin bases, anyone moaning about potential noise must have moved into the area after the early to mid 90s Who'd have thought an area formally designated for lot's of flights might again be used for lot's of flights!

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    bconnelly55

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • This is really a none story which, if it needs reporting should just stick to the facts. The flights have occurred since the base closed; no additional flights are planned; none of the planes are jets; it's less intrusive than any other flying in the area. Time for the Star to stop supporting NIMBYs.

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    amsterdam81

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • There is an almost permanent rumble of passenger flights heading into Stanstead over the entire area in question. The classic planes make a gentle summery bumble that can hardly be heard. Can we get some facts injected into this continuing stream of vitriol from a very small group of individuals.

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    Tamara Knight

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • The row these campaigners are kicking up anyone would think Gatwick was about to be relocated! Incidentally we still don't know for sure who is behind one of the groups as they hide behind a 'spokesman'.... All of this over a few more heritage (and interesting) planes using the base primarily to support displays and fly pasts - things which bring interest and happiness to most people. The campaigners need to realise that the countryside is not solely their playground. Other people live in it and try to make a living from it - if it is utopia they seek I suggest they move back to the suburbs.

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    Suffolk Boy

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • So far this is lip service and the media fueling the argument for news interest. I see no evidence shown how it will ruin AONB, no evidence flights are going to affect wildlife adversely and how it might affect visitors to the area absolute twaddle. Please remember jobs are few and far between, this might create more jobs

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    newsaddict

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Just a few words to say due to this ongoing battle. If you closed both airports in London it would be a massive loss to the economy, A few aircraft will not make any difference to the area or wildlife at bentwaters and the noise.well, the spitfire attracts people who are interested and they must spend somewhere.

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    Paul Edwards

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • The NIMBY brigade cannot see the jobs which would be created by having flights allowed.Look how it used to be!!

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    tonyb

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • If it wasn't for the 'Real' flying which has previously taken place at Bentwaters, there would not be any 'peace or tranquility' !, and of course common sense says 'one' does not move near to an airbase if you do not want or like noise !

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    freedomf

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • Firstly, flying already takes place from Bentwaters, and is much more reduced than when it was a working air base. Secondly, there are far more flight movements from the still working Rock Barracks which doesn't seem to upset anyone. Thirdly, by having the movements of the spitfire, this area remains restricted air space. If these flights are curtailed, the area can be used by anything anyone, and there will be nothing the NIMBYs can do to stop it. This is a lot of noise and fluff about nothing being stirred up by a few with vested (and un-declared) interests.

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    Emmy Lou

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • So why has this story been revamped to remove all the comments of those who have no concern over the proposals? The proposed changes are trivial and the published article does not reflect other sources of noise in the area such as that from the adjacent military base which is much more significant.

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    amsterdam81

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • The impact of the number of flights proposed is not going to have an effect on the tranquility of the area and to say it will ruin the tourist economy is completely misguided. I would argue that historic aircraft will in fact bring more people into the area as our military history is of great interest to many.

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    flyingferret

    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • The tourist traps of Lavenham and Long Melford have army helicopters, light aircraft from Elmsett and other commercial flights overhead but it does not effect the visitor numbers.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, June 27, 2014

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