Row over need for inquiry

Wingland Aero Club members (from left) Steve Beale, Dave Slator, Pete Higgins, Terry Pack and Tony Shilcock ' who appealed against South Holland District Council's enforcement action.
Wingland Aero Club members (from left) Steve Beale, Dave Slator, Pete Higgins, Terry Pack and Tony Shilcock ' who appealed against South Holland District Council's enforcement action.
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THE planning inquiry held to determine whether model planes could fly at a field in Gedney Dyke was a “total and utter waste of money”, according to the club at the heart of the row.

Wingland Airfield owner Pete Higgins criticised South Holland District Council for taking the matter to an inquiry, and said the current deal could have been drawn up without needing a hearing at all.

He said: “We feel the council and their enforcement team were really awkward. Had they sat down with us we probably would have accepted electric aircraft.

“I am paying the council, through my rates, to run the area and they waste money hand over fist. The inquiry was a total and utter waste of money.”

The council insists it has succeeded in limiting the petrol engine craft to 28 flying days a year.

Planning manager Paul Jackson said: “The inquiry would not have proceeded if the appellant had simply sought consent to fly electric powered model aircraft.

“He was not prepared to accept this limitation at the time or at the inquiry and wished to fly both types of aircraft beyond 28 days per year. His appeal position clarifies this matter.

“As far as costs are concerned, I did the inquiry myself with no legal representation. The council’s costs were therefore limited to those associated with my job.”