Model helicopter site under threat

MODEL helicopter enthusiasts are today faced with losing their flying site unless they can overcome objections about the noise their machines generate.

By Richard Cornwell

MODEL helicopter enthusiasts are today faced with losing their flying site unless they can overcome objections about the noise their machines generate.

The Orwell Model Helicopter Club has had permission to stay and fly regularly refused because planners say use of the field at Waldringfield could disturb walkers and horse riders, and was against policy.

But the club, which has more than 40 members, said it is very difficult to find a suitable site away from homes and people and would be heartbroken if it lost the field.


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Club secretary Mike Eddington said: “We have submitted an amended application which we hope will overcome the objections that have been raised.

“I am confident we can find a solution. We don't want to cause problems we just want somewhere safe to practise and this site is perfect for that.”

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The club started using the land, the edge of a field belonging to Sheep Drift Farm, about 14 months ago. It has a road haulage container on the site as a refreshment hut. The nearest homes are several hundred metres away.

Mr Eddington said: “It's just the edge of the field which the farmer doesn't use, and we don't need that much space because our helicopters do not go much further than 100 yards from us.”

“We have taught youngsters from four years old to others way past retirement age. Our members come from all over the county.

“People love to meet up and fly their helicopters, but also to chat. In fact, 90per cent of time spent up here is chit-chat, five pc rebuilding and five pc flying, so the flying is not constant. If it's too windy, we get out our kites instead!”

Tim Roberts, a club member, said: “I saw it from the road one Sunday and they invited me to have a go on a dual control training machine and it whetted my appetite and that's how I started.”

Suffolk Coastal planners said recreational uses in the countryside could only be supported if there was no major impact on the environment and did not disturb other users of the countryside.

Noise from the site - 300 metres to the west of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and 800 metres north of the Newbourne Springs reserve - could be heard some distance away and there had been an objection.

Do you think the club should be allowed to stay at the field? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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