Fareham council leader eases concerns after plane crash

The plane crash at Daedalus airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent this month
The plane crash at Daedalus airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent this month
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A COUNCIL leader says there are no future safety concerns after a plane accident this month – despite residents’ fears that the area where the light aircraft crashed is destined to be a ‘community space’.

The plane crashed this month when it did not make the runway and ‘impaled’ its propeller in the grass.

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward

After the crash, concerns were raised over a section of the enterprise zone, in Fareham, being listed as community green space. The space, which will be open to the public, is just beyond the end of the runway.

But Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said they will not be building anything in the designated green space.

‘We won’t be encouraging people to go near the runway,’ he said.

‘We won’t be building play parks or putting in benches or trees so there will be no need for members of the public to be near the runway.

‘When we looked at that area, we decided to extend the runway by 100 yards and if that had been in place, the plane would not have crashed last week.’

He added: ‘We looked at safety and that is why we decided to keep that area near the main runway free of houses and industrial units.’

As reported in The News, the crash is being investigated. No-one was injured and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch has been informed.

But the accident has worried people living in the area.

One Fareham resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘This crash has been taken lightly and I don’t think it should have been.

‘I think the council needs to look again about the community green space it is designating at the end of the runway.

‘When consultations were taking place for that area of Daedalus, it was something I raised concerns about. I hope this is a wake-up call.’

Jon Butts, chairman of the Lee Flying Association, based at Lee-on-the-Solent, said it is important that most of the space near the runway remains clear.

‘On-airfield incidents have become increasingly rare over time as technology has improved, however technology is not 100 per cent reliable and from time to time they do occur,’ he said.

‘So it remains important from both public safety and flight safety perspectives that as much as possible of the airfield’s existing clear and open space between the beginning of the runway and the airfield’s boundary remains.’

He said the current standards were more than acceptable but the council may want to look at having larger public areas away from the runway’s extended centre line.