A row over unauthorised changes to approved developments at a controversy-mired airfield looks set to rumble on after councillors agreed those behind the works had not proved some of them were needed.

Hambleton District Council’s planning committee rejected retrospective applications relating to runway improvements and an aircraft fuel facility at Bagby Airfield, near Thirsk, but passed changes to one of its hangars after finding a business case had been proven.

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Following years of struggles between some Bagby and Thirkleby villagers and the airfield’s owner Martin Scott over noise and planned improvements to the facilities, planning permission was granted in 2019 for a range of developments at the 15.6-hectare site.

However, the meeting was told concerns had since arisen over a number of changes to the approved plans.

Planning officers told the meeting Mr Scott had submitted an insufficient amount of information about his fuel facility proposal, and that as there were other fuel pumps in operation on the site “a demonstrable need” for another one had not been established.

The meeting heard residents feared the unauthorised changes would lead to more and larger aircraft using the airfield.

An agent for Mr Scott said putting extra facilities on site would not increase aircraft movements as the maximum number of flights in and out the airfield had already been set.

He said with the adoption of Hambleton’s Local Plan next, the need to present a business case for such a development would not exist in a week’s time, but officers responded that commercial developments in the countryside would still need to be justified.

The agent said Hambleton was setting Mr Scott “an impossible task” in demanding a business case that demonstrated it would bolster the viability of the venture was submitted for every change.

He said if the proposal was refused on business case grounds another application would be submitted to the authority “within a week”.

The agent: “At the moment if we want to put a new door in we have to prove a business case. It’s impossible, you can’t do it, The improvements to the runway are being put in because they enhance the airfield for its users. They don’t make it viable. Without them they don’t become unviable.”

Bagby ward councillor Andrew Robinson said the applicant had not provided enough information for a decision on the fuel facility to be determined.

He also questioned the need for a concrete runway extension and said if it was granted such a development could “creep” across te airfield and subsequently “attract larger planes to land there”.

He said: “Bagby Airfield is basically for the use of light aircraft and is restricted useage for light aircraft.”

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