Extended microlight flying times allowed

An inspector has extended a temporary permission for microlight flying at a farm in Warwickshire for a further two years to give the local planning authority further time to monitor its impact.

The extant temporary permission was personal to the appellant. The inspector was concerned that the appellant had failed to comply with British Microlight Aircraft Association advice to present substantive noise evidence in support of such proposals and considered that a trial run was needed to assess the effect of the development.

Local residents were concerned that they were overlooked while using their gardens by microlight pilots. But the inspector noted that aviation law bans flying within 152m of any structure or person or below 457m over a built-up area. She held that it would be unreasonable to refuse or restrict permission for the change of use on privacy grounds.

She agreed that the sound of microlight aircraft is penetrating and could become intrusive if heard on a collective, persistent or frequent basis. However, she found that an existing condition stipulating that aircraft movements should only take place between 9am and 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays was unduly restrictive. She reasoned that precluding evening and Sunday activity would leave little opportunity for recreational flying, whereas other noisy activities could still take place in the area.

Instead, the inspector attached a condition allowing take-offs and landings until 7.30pm daily, with an 8am start time on Mondays to Saturdays and 9am on Sundays and bank holidays. But she refused to allow an increase in the number of take-offs beyond six per day, finding that the existing condition was precise, reasonable and necessary to protect residents' amenity.

DCS Number 100-051-170

Inspector Jean Russell; Hearing.

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