Helicopters allowed to keep flying

MODEL helicopter flying enthusiasts who have been using land in Waldringfield without permission for two years have been told they can carry on for a further 12 months.

MODEL helicopter flying enthusiasts who have been using land in Waldringfield without permission for two years have been told they can carry on for a further 12 months.

Planners say the temporary consent will enable noise from the activity to be properly monitored.

However, they have imposed strict conditions to limit the potential sound levels from the models and enable monitoring and assessment of the flying activities.

The Orwell Model Helicopter Club, which has about 40 members, previously had permission to use the field at Sheep Drift Farm refused because planners felt the activity could disturb walkers and horse riders.

Gordon Laing, vice-chairman of the south area development control sub-committee, said: “The site currently being used as an airfield for the model helicopters is situated in a part of the countryside that is particularly attractive, near to a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

“We recognise there are some significant concerns about using the land for flying these model aircraft and the resulting potential for disturbing the peace and quiet of the surrounding area.

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“We do, however, have to balance this concern with the interests of members of the model helicopter club, who clearly cannot pursue their chosen hobby in residential areas.

“The club's resubmitted application offered some improvements.

“We feel that placing conditions limiting the hours and extent of flying and allowing a trial period of one year, during which time a proper assessment can be made, is a fair and reasonable solution.”

Conditions imposed include a limit on the number of aircraft that can fly at any one time, a restriction preventing flying outside certain hours, and on the type of model aircraft that may be flown.

The club will also be obliged to keep a flight log to be kept available for council officers to see at any time.

Club officials have been confident a solution could be found and say they do not want to cause problems - just have somewhere safe to practise.

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