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Response to Planning Application - Deadline 31 Dec 2018

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Here's a summary of major objections to the Fairoaks Housing Estate application (SHBC18/0642 and RU.18/1615):

  • It conflicts with the relevant adopted and emerging development plans, e.g. the draft SHBC draft Local Development Plan that emerged during the summer.
  • It conflicts with national planning policy, which requires that large development in the Green Belt should only be approved in "very special circumstances".  It is a matter of record that housing need is not accepted as a VSC.
  • The benefits claimed by the applicant are generally not benefits at all, they are mitigation for the harm the development would cause.
  • The harm the applicant claims the development would cause is understated.  Together with the previous point, this means the developers' case is grossly overstated.
  • The estate would generate an enormous amount more traffic on roads that are already unacceptably congested.  The proposed new road through the site would in no way compensate for this.
  • Most of the site is open greenfield:  to put 1,000 homes on it would obviously affect the site’s openness and would harm the landscape and biodiversity.
  • The loss of the airport would harm the local economy.  The alternative airports that the applicant claims could be used instead of Fairoaks are not suitable.

Keep Fairoaks Flying

Write to your Councillor

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Surrey Heath Borough Council is the planning authority for Fairoaks Airport and they will decide its future.

We’ve prepared a draft email that you can send to show the leader that you support Fairoaks Airport. Feel free to copy & paste the text below into your email to each council.

You may also wish to send a similar email to Runnymede Borough Council who are also involved in the proposed development. You can contact their council leader using the details below.

Surrey Heath Borough Council

Councillor Moira Gibson
Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council
Ward: Windlesham
Email: moira.gibson@surreyheath.gov.uk
copied to Karen Whelan
Chief Executive of Surrey Heath Borough Council

Runnymede Borough Council

Councillor Patrick Roberts
Leader of Runnymede Borough Council
Ward: Englefield Green East
Email: cllr.patrick.roberts@runnymede.gov.uk
copied to Paul Turrell
Chief Executive of Runnymede Borough Council

Template Email to the Borough Council

Subject: Save Fairoaks Airport!

Dear Councillor,

Fairoaks Airport is an asset that Surrey Heath Borough Council should cherish and promote. It has been operational since 1937, training hundreds of civilian pilots each year and is an important base for emergency medical flights – 152 in 2016 alone. It supports over 300 skilled jobs in the local economy. Fairoaks Airport is a vital link in the national General Aviation network – worth £3 billion to the UK economy each year.

Fairoaks Airport is also part of our precious Green Belt and 23 species of rare wildlife currently co-exist within the airport boundary. Developing the airport site for housing will put these creatures at risk.

Any development will not provide housing for those who need it most – these will be executive houses in the countryside. They are the wrong houses in the wrong location. The extra traffic caused by 1,500 new homes will clog our already over-crowded roads completely.

I am not opposed to developing new homes, however, in a four square-mile area around the airport, nearly 9,000 homes have already received or are due to receive planning permission. Fairoaks is the wrong place for even more.

I therefore call on you to urge Surrey Heath Borough Council to reject any plans to develop Fairoaks Airport for housing.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name and Address]

Ownership Timeline

Tuesday, 22 August 2017
The ownership of Fairoaks Airport is one of the confounding issues behind the proposals for Fairoaks New Town. To understand the situation we find ourselves in today, it is useful to know something about the airfield's history leading up to the new town development proposals and the interests that are driving them.

Gallery

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Your donation is crucial!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

With the owners of the airport prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to persuade the Council to accept their plans – they have already employed a PR agency and a firm of architects – Fairoaks2020 needs your support today.

We urgently need to raise £100,000.  This will help pay for legal advice from the country’s top aviation lawyer and to continue our campaign of engagement with key decision makers in central government, Surrey Heath and elsewhere.  We need our local MPs, all 41 Borough Councillors, and very many local and county-wide voluntary groups and organisations to understand the strength of feeling about the Fairoaks housing estate proposals.

We have established an overall target of £250,000 for the next 18 months – typical of the funding other airfields that have recently been saved have needed.

We are very grateful for any donation you are able to make to support our cause.

Any funds remaining at the end of our campaign will be donated equally to Aerobility and the Chobham Church Tower Restoration Fund.

 

DONATE ONLINE USING A CREDIT/DEBIT CARD

 

DONATE BY BANK TRANSFER

Email donations@nofairoaksnewtown.org for our details or to discuss making a donation.

 

DONATE BY CHEQUE

Please make your cheque payable to 'Fairoaks2020 Ltd' and send it to:

Fairoaks2020
1-3 Poole Road
Woking, Surrey
GU21 6WW

The History of Fairoaks Airport

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The first flights in and out of Fairoaks took place in 1934 when it was used as a landing strip by a private owner who sold his farm to the Secretary of State for Air (Air Ministry) in 1936.

Tower 1950s 400x414In June 1937, the Air Ministry announced that they would be setting up a flying school at Fairoaks for the training of new pilots enlisted in the RAF under an expansion scheme.

The School was opened on 2 October 1937 by General Aircraft Limited who had been selected by the Air Ministry to manage the school.  The School was one of nine new schools and commenced training, initially with three flying instructors, 24 RAFVR pupils and 6 Tiger Moths.  The School was closed in 1953 having trained over 6000 pilots.

Fairoaks Airport enjoyed a busy and important return to civilian usage after the Second World War and continues to be of great significance to the international aviation community as well as the local community it serves.  

For information on historic aviation events, you can read Fifty Years of Flying Heritage by Historic England.

Famous Airfield Users

  • King Peter of Yugoslavia - learnt to fly with No.18 EFTS in 1945
  • Gary Numan - owned 3 aircraft based at Fairoaks
  • Cliff Robertson - TV and film actor learnt to fly at Fairoaks
  • Dick Emery - comedian based his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Diana Britten - UK female aerobatic champion currently based at Fairoaks
  • Ian Whittle - son of Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine has his aircraft based at Fairoaks
  • Alan Mann - racing driver, owned the airfield for many years
  • Mike Hawthorn - winner 24 Heures du Mans learned to fly and kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Sir Jack Brabham - 3 time F1 world champion kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Ron Flockhart - Scottish racing driver kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • John Cooper - race car creator kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Duncan Hamilton - Le Mans winner kept his aircraft at Fairoaks
  • Willie Carson, Walter Swinburn and Richard Hanson (jockeys) were regular visitors
  • Katie Melua - singer learned to fly at Fairoaks
  • Formula 1 driver Jenson Button and Jason Plato (Team BMR) both visit the airfield multiple times each year

The National Picture

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The predicament at Fairoaks is not solely a local issue.  It is also of national significance and is part of a wider issue for General Aviation in the UK.

General Aviation airfields are under threat.  The national housing shortage and the pressure on local councils to deliver their Local Plans by March 2018 place severe pressure on airfields to justify their value, both to their owners and to local authorities, who are eyeing many of them as ideal sites for much-needed housing.  In contrast, nationally, the Government has a vision for the UK as “the best place in the world for GA as a flourishing, wealth generating and job producing sector of the economy” - Department for Transport’s General Aviation Strategy, 2015.

 

aviation sector graphicThe General Aviation sector contributes more than £3 billion per year to the UK economy and supports 38,000 jobs in the UK.  Through the training of new pilots at flight schools at GA airfields, it supports the larger Commercial Aviation Sector, which contributes £60 billion per year to the UK economy and 961,000 jobs.

Airfields require a significant acreage of land and, as land is in high demand, there have been no new GA airfields built since the Second World War.

This means that every time a GA airfield is closed and re-developed, there are fewer airfields at which to land.  This is a particular issue in the case of an emergency - an emergency landing at an airfield greatly increases the survival rate of both the pilot and the plane and is greatly preferable to an emergency landing in a field, or worse in a built-up area.  Therefore, a Minimum Viable Strategic Network of GA airfields is essential from a safety critical standpoint.

Employment at the Airport

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

More than 300 staff are involved with aviation-related business at Fairoaks Airport.

The largest employer is Gama Engineering, with 42 employees handling aircraft maintenance.  Gama's yearly rental payments amount to 51% of the total site rental income.

The General Aviation industry is represented by a mixture of specialised businesses:

  • Engineering and Maintenance
  • Training: Fixed Wing Aircraft
  • Training: Helicopter
  • Training: Executive Jets
  • Training: Aviation regulations, compliance and safety management training and consultancy
  • Medical Flights
  • Aircraft and Helicopter Recovery
  • Air Taxi and Charter
  • Aerial Photography
  • Flying Clubs and Groups
  • Shared ownership of turboprop aircraft
  • Business Aircraft
  • Police, Ambulance and Military Helicopter Operations

Fairoaks Airport is also home to a number of non-aviation businesses:

  • Car Restoration and maintenance
  • Motor Racing
  • Car & Vehicle Upholstering
  • Taxis and Private Hire
  • Bicycle Sales and Repairs
  • Photographic
  • Photo Processing and Printing
  • Bookkeeping & Financial Services
  • Sign Writers
  • Air Conditioning Services
  • Food and Drink Deliveries
  • Coffee Shop
  • IT Systems and Network Infrastructures
  • Recycling and Cleaning Services

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