Gosport model aircraft club to repair part of damaged field

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MODEL aircraft enthusiasts have said they will repair part of a field left damaged after a military exercise.

Gosport-based Funtley Flyers pay the Ministry of Defence for a licence to use the damaged field at Browndown training area, off Browndown Road, on a weekly basis.

As reported in The News on Friday, a six-day military exercise at the site left deep ruts in the ground of the field, leading to a complaint from a dog walker to the Tory member for Lee West, Councillor John Beavis.

Chairman of the club, Chris Lombard, said that he and other enthusiasts use the MoD-owned land at least 50 times a year, taking off and landing their planes.

He said that the club understands the military’s use of the field and has no problem with any damage to the area but still plans to restore it.

He said: ‘We might still roll it but we’re definitely not going to roll the track all the way down from where it is all the way to the other side.

‘We’ll roll the bits where we are, for our own use.

‘They’ll have more military exercises and they will be taking their trucks there again to have their exercises, so there’s no point doing that.’

The model aircraft club has used the field since moving to Gosport in February this year and Mr Lombard said that under the terms of its agreement with the MoD, the club can use it three days a week but understands that the military’s use of the field comes first.

‘Those ruts have always been there, they’ve become prominent now because of the rain,’ said Mr Lombard.

‘I had a good look at it and there wasn’t that much, I honestly don’t understand how this is an issue.

‘At the time it might have looked worse than what it was but now that it’s all settled down and there’s hardly any more activity, it’s going back to the way it was.’

And Mr Lombard said that when the club used the field at the weekend, many of the dog walkers he spoke to did not have a problem with the damage.

The field is next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is a designation given to important wildlife and geological areas, affording them protection from damage. The field itself is not designated as an SSSI.