Basingstoke resident launches High Court bid to ground model aircraft

A woman who is tired of the noise from model aircraft flying over a neighbouring Basingstoke farm has launched a High Court challenge to the local council's decision to grant a lawful use certificate allowing the land to be used by model aircraft enthusiasts.

Model aircraft: High Court bid to overturn council's decision to issue lawful use certificate (picture by: Dave_S, Flickr)
Model aircraft: High Court bid to overturn council's decision to issue lawful use certificate (picture by: Dave_S, Flickr)
Alison Sellars of Mole End, claims that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was wrong to grant the certificate clearing the Aldershot Model Club and its chairman Peter Carter to fly up to five model aircraft during daylight hours seven days a week at Blacklands Farm, Newnham Lane, old Basing, Basingstoke.

She is asking Deputy Judge Ockleton to quash the council’s decision to grant the certificate in February 2012 that allows the club members to fly their model aircraft from 10am until dusk Monday to Saturday and from 10am until 7pm or dusk, whichever is earlier, on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Sellars says that since she moved near to the farm in August 2010 she has been directly affected by the environmental consequences, including noise impact, of model aircraft flying at the site.
 
And she claims that the council granted a certificate of lawfulness on the erroneous basis that the club had used the farm for model aircraft flying for ten years, and thus had become immune from planning enforcement.
 
She says that there could not have been ten years of continuous use up to the date the application was made for a certificate in October 2011, because in 2001 and 2002 all use of the land ceased as a result of restrictions arising from the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

In addition, she claims that the use of the land has intensified during that period so as to constitute a material change of use without planning permission.
 
She argues that evidence submitted on behalf of her and other objectors was not evaluated on a proper basis and that the limited evidence put forward by the club was not fairly tested.
 
The club and its chairman maintain that while flying on the land was highly restricted during the foot-and-mouth outbreak, it nevertheless continued. They and lawyers for the council argue that the decision should be upheld.
 
The judge is going to give his decision in writing at a later date.

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