A COUNCIL which paid compensation to a parish council after losing planning control of a controversial airfield has rejected claims it ignores residents’ views.

Almost a decade on from the Local Government Ombudsman finding Hambleton District Council (HDC) had done local residents of Bagby and Thirkleby, near Thirsk, an “injustice”, committing “an extreme and most serious failure of planning administration”, Bagby and Balk Parish Council (BBPC) has again condemned the district authority’s handling of developments at Bagby Airfield.

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Some people living nearby have spent years battling attempts by the airfield’s owner, Martin Scott, to upgrade the 15.6-hectare airfield, which was originally given planning permission for 40 take-offs and 40 landings a week in 1980.

Following several public inquiries, an unprecedented wave of enforcement action and numerous planning applications, Mr Scott has applied to the council for planning consent for a hangar which was extended by 12 metres more than had been approved.

Mr Scott is also seeking permission to retain two temporary hangars which should have already been demolished for a further two years to store airfield equipment and aircraft.

A third planning application to be considered involves an extension of the concrete section of the runway and reinforced 200-metre long geo-textile matting.

Documents submitted with the application state the availability of hangars is a priority for the airfield, particularly as “a smaller number of higher value customers drive economic output by requiring high quality hangars”.

They state more modern aircraft make less noise and users contribute little to total air traffic as they do not do short day return visits or circuit journeys.

The papers add the expansion of an aircraft engineering firm, which has 14 staff, had needed more hangar space than had been envisaged.

However, in response to the applications, the parish council said there was “creeping development at an alarming increasing pace” at the airfield despite residents repeatedly raising concerns, such as over a fence between the airfield and a children’s playground.

It stated: “BBPC is now of the opinion that their views are not welcome, or actually considered important in the planning process at HDC.

“Councillors feel this regrettable as BBPC has been proved repeatedly right about the long-term intentions of the airfield.

“The failure to build the fence to protect children, which was insisted on by the planning committee, but which was surprisingly not supported by officers of HDC is the latest non-compliance which was predicted by the BBPC and duly came to pass.

“Even those officers who have supported the airfield in the past have come to realise that the conditions are not being policed with any sort of authority or professionalism.”

Officers' reports to the committee recommend all three planning applications are refused due to an inadequate business case being made for them.

A Hambleton District Council spokeswoman said officers ensured all comments received from the parish council regarding applications affecting the airfield were considered.

She said Bagby and Balk Parish Council as well as representatives of the airfield's operators, had met with planning officers and members of the planning committee to examine the proposals at the site on Monday.

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The spokeswoman added: "All enforcement complaints received from the parish council are investigated in full and the council will continue to investigate any alleged breach of condition at the site. The council always welcomes and values the benefits that local knowledge brings to these procedures."

“It was noted during the site visit that the fence adjacent to the play area is under construction.”

“Officers would encourage the parish council to attend the regular meetings of the Bagby Airfield Joint Consultative Committee for a further discussion about any concerns regarding the airfield operation.”