September 30 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The chairman of a gliding club has fiercely defended proposals to expand its operation amid widespread criticism.
Rattlesden Gliding Club, based in the village near Stowmarket, wants to extend the times it can fly to 10am-6pm six days a week. Currently it can only let gliders go up between 10am-4pm, four days a week.
It also wants to increase the “air movements” it is permitted from eight a month to 30.
Mark Manning, the club’s chairman, said the current arrangement was restrictive and the only aim was to have greater flexibility.
He emphasised the extra take-offs and landings, when combined, would only equate to around three more a week.
But the village parish council as well as Brettenham, Thorpe Morieux and Cockfield parishes, all have objections. A statement by Rattlesden Parish Council said a “large number” of residents had expressed concern.
It said: “The council now feels that the new application is seeking to push the boundaries unreasonably and would be both detrimental to the village and to the quality of life and well-being of residents, not least those directly neighbouring the club and under the various flightpaths.
“The proposed extension in operating hours would have most impact during the summer months. This is precisely the time when residents are, themselves, wanting to enjoy their gardens, the countryside and more without further intrusion from flying activities.”
Mr Manning pointed to what he believes should be a key consideration: the weather. He said unpredictable weather often meant hours allotted for flying were wasted.
He said: “All we are trying to do is maximise the use of the site. We do not want to be a nuisance to our neighbours; we understand how this application could have caused local opposition, albeit, we do not agree with all of the arguments.
“Planning permission would mean we would have the flexibility to fly when the weather is conducive to do so.”
He added the club had invested in a new tug aeroplane which was “extremely quiet and fuel-efficient”.
Due to the concerns, the proposal will be heard at a planning committee meeting at Mid Suffolk, probably in the next few weeks.