A BATTLE between villagers and pilots over a grass airstrip used by top jockeys and trainers looks set to trigger a third public inquiry.

Hambleton District Council has launched fresh enforcement action at Bagby Airfield, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, to restrict the number of aircraft using it and remove a jet fuel tank for helicopters.

The move follows a council study of the airfield’s use to help regulate its activities following a sustained campaign by residents in Bagby and Thirkleby to reduce noise.

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Airfield manager, Steve Hoyle, said owner, Martin Scott, would appeal, leading to another public inquiry.

The hearing would follow one in March last year which upheld the council’s rejection of a plan to build a three-bedroom clubhouse, with extended aircraft hangars and a helicopter landing pad.

At a second public inquiry last Mayr, the planning inspector upheld eight enforcement actions, most centering on land use changes.

However, the inspector allowed one of Mr Scott’s appeals, against an enforcement that would have prevented helicopters from using the grass airstrip.

Mr Hoyle said the council was now targeting the helicopter fuel tank as it had been unable to stop helicopters using the site.

He said while he had logged 10,000 flight movements on the remaining runway last year, the council was pressing for a maximum of 3,700 take-offs and landings - destroying the airfield’s viability.

He said: “If they proceed with this action we will all be out of a job. Seven people who worked here have gone already due to the enforcements at the airfield last year and with this nine more people will be out of work with a knock-on effect for lots of other businesses in the area.”

Councillor Mark Robson, the authority’s planning and housing boss, said he wanted to make it clear the council was attempting to establish “normality” in the area, rather than trying to close down the airfield.