Residents admit defeat in Queen Alexandra hospital night flight campaign

LIFT OFF Hampshire and IOW Air Ambulance at QA Helipad
LIFT OFF Hampshire and IOW Air Ambulance at QA Helipad
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PEOPLE who led opposition to plans to allow 24-hour helicopter landings at Queen Alexandra Hospital have admitted they’ve reached the end of the line.

Brian Sandy, chairman of The Heights Residents’ association, which had been at the centre of campaigns against allowing helicopter flights to QA between 6pm and 8am, said there was nothing left the group could do.

He said: ‘We’ve done all we can, but lost. People across the city wanted this, and didn’t listen to our objections. The only possibility we might have had was to go to the European Court of Human Rights, but that costs thousands of pounds. We can’t afford to do it.’

Portsmouth City Council’s planning committee voted on Wednesday afternoon to lift a restriction placed on the Cosham superhospital’s helipad, which said it could only be used between 8am and 6pm.

Sixty-seven people wrote to support the decision, which the hospital’s representatives said would save lives.

As The News reported yesterday, the hospital plans night flights to carry people in urgent need of heart surgery from the Isle of Wight to QA, a specialist cardiological treatment centre.

But more than 30 Cosham residents wrote to oppose the plans.

Mr Sandy, of Orkney Road, Cosham, said there were no meetings of the residents’ association planned until early next year and it was unlikely the helipad would be discussed then.

He said: ‘We’re not calling an early meeting, and it’ll be too late by the next one we hold. The concerns we have weren’t discussed by councillors.

‘This is a matter of people sleeping – nurses, taxi drivers and doctors.

Mr Sandy also questioned whether helicopters would be allowed to fly at night for safety reasons.

But Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Service’s charity manager, Sherie Williams-Ellen, said: ‘It’s safe.

‘Our pilots are trained for night-flights, and the helicopter can be used at night.’