Redhill Aerodrome: hard runway allowed, but Green Cllr wins important condition

Cllrs Steve McKenna & and Jonathan Essex with Green MEP Keith Taylor and residents campaigning at Redhill Aerodrome

Residents living around Redhill Aerodrome – which sits between South Nutfield and Earlswood – have fought destructive development plans for decades. The threats have included a hard runway – which would allow an intensification of flying at this rural location, with more and larger planes and year-round flying, which is currently impossible on the grass runway. Recently, there was a proposal to replace the aerodrome with a ‘Garden Village’ of circa 4,000 new homes.

Greens have campaigned alongside the locals against these proposals, and helped to see off the threatened Garden Village.

Redhill Aerodrome was a key centre of RAF operations in the Battle of Britain in WW2 – but today the area is very much Green Belt and high in landscape quality. It supports a number of associated businesses and its loss would potentially lead to pressure for development on the site.

The Aerodrome owners carried out unauthorised works to resurface, widen and straighten their taxiway in recent years, creating a hard runway by stealth when these have always been refused when they went through the proper planning application procedure.

Redhill Aerodrome

On 17 March Reigate &  Banstead’s Planning Committee retrospectively considered this action. A cap on extra aircraft movements using the taxiway was proposed to allay fears that this could be the start of intensification of activities.

Stephen McKenna, our Green councillor on the Planning Committee, argued that the retrospective application should be refused – as it is inappropriate development within the Green Belt. He argued that the noise and disturbance and loss of winter respite would negatively affect neighbours.

However the Planning Committee did not support Stephen’s reasons for refusal.

Stephen therefore proposed and secured a condition as follows:  In the event the site ceases to be used as an aerodrome, the areas of hardstanding to the widened taxiway hereby approved, shall be removed and the land returned to its former condition in accordance with a scheme to be submitted and approved by the Local Planning Authority within 3 months of the cessation of the use.  

This vital condition does mean that the taxiway can’t be kept in perpetuity and be used to support development at this Green Belt site.


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