Councillors clash over airfield development

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A PROPOSED development at an airfield has been deferred after councillors were split on an application.

Hangar Homes had proposed the development of five hangars at Solent Airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent, which was hotly debated by Gosport Borough Council.

Plans submitted by developer Peter Day had hangars with a ground floor for business use, residential quarters upstairs and space for a four-seater Velocity kit light aircraft in the garage.

For the development to go ahead, Mr Day needs planning permission from both Gosport and Fareham Borough Councils.

The recommendation from council officers was to refuse the scheme.

But councillors were split equally on the vote, deferring the decision until the next planning meeting.

Cllr Wayne Ronayne, who supported the application, said: ‘Having looked through the proposal I think it is both an innovative and unique idea.

‘The development would really put Solent Airfield on the map and I would support the proposal without reservation.’

Cllr Dawn Kelly said: ‘This is an excellent idea and I think it would be stupid of Gosport Borough Council to let this application slip away from us.’

But Cllr John Beavis has opposed the application, along with five other councillors.

He said: ‘I think we need to seriously take into account the airfield operator’s objections.

‘The Civil Aviation Authority also refers to the airfield operator to comment on their behalf.

‘The landowner is also strongly against the application.

‘The report from council officers states that it would be prejudicial to the future of the Solent Enterprise Zone.

Councillors ended up split 50/50 on the vote, before making the decision to defer the application until the next meeting.

The next regulatory board meeting will be taking place on February 28.