Norfolk Gliding Club expansion plans get the go-ahead

Plans for the commercial expansion of a south Norfolk airfield were given the all clear for take off yesterday, despite concerns about more air traffic noise.

Proposals for three new hangars at the Norfolk Gliding Club site at Tibenham were approved with conditions on the use of the development.

The scheme would see the relocation of two Norfolk aviation businesses and extra space for the club's growing membership based at the former second world war airfield.

Officials from the gliding club said the development would safeguard its future and support its community activities including the training of young pilots and East Anglian Air Ambulance fundraising activities.

The approval by a South Norfolk Council planning committee came despite objections from neighbouring parish councils in Aslacton and Great Moulton and 12 local residents.

Colin Pike, who has lived near the base for the last 38 years, said the use of propelled planes and 'intrusive' levels of noise from Tibenham Airfield had increased 'considerably' in recent years.

'I am concerned that this application is giving the green light for the level to keep on increasing. This is rural Britain and we need to protect it,' he said.

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The proposals would result in the relocation of 10 jobs to south Norfolk from aerial survey company Centerline Aerospace, currently based at Norwich International Airport, and Dickleburgh-based Anglia Sailplanes, which services and repairs gliders.

Councillors granted the application with the condition that no jet aircraft, helicopters, or night time flights will be allowed at the new hangars.

Tony Griffiths, vice chairman of the Norfolk Gliding Club, said 11,000 flights already take place from Tibenham every year and they would only be allowing Centerline 30 flights a month.

'The airfield will bring a small increase in local traffic and reduce traffic overall across the county. Air movements will increase slightly but will cause no perceptible increase in noise and will provide sustainability for Norfolk Gliding Club and its community commitments,' he said.

Councillor Christopher Kemp added: 'I am inclined to support this application. It is a question of balance between the amenity of neighbours and local employment developments in these types of situations.'