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SOMERSET: Yeovil runway approved in less than 15 minutes

SOMERSET: Yeovil runway approved in less than 15 minutes

The Leonardo Runway Site Seen From Bunford Lane In Yeovil. CREDIT: Daniel Mumby.

A new hard-standing runway can be built at the Leonardo Helicopters site in Yeovil after new plans were approved in less than 15 minutes.

Leonardo applied to build to replace its existing grass runway off Bunford Lane with a harder surface, claiming the current runway “has not been up to standard for some time”.

The company was originally granted permission in December 2019, promising at the time that this would not lead to a rise in the number of fixed-wing aircraft using the site.

South Somerset District Council has now given the go-ahead to amended plans, which will allow construction on part of the site to begin in early-2022.

This newest approval includes changes to some of the conditions governing when construction can start, to allow the “small ancillary lighting building” to be built in the next few months.

Shaun Travers of Boon Brown Architects, representing Leonardo, addressed the council’s regulation committee when it met virtually on Tuesday morning (December 21).

He said: “What we’re doing here today is simply amending the pre-start conditions, so that we can start the development by building the lighting shed.

“The lighting building is tucked in with the main factory buildings on an existing hard service, and will hardly be noticed in the context of the factory itself.

“This will allow Leonardo to get on with the lighting building now, so it is ready when the main runway project is under way.”

Councillor Tony Lock said he was in favour of the amended plans, arguing central government restrictions would make up for any changes in local planning conditions.

He said: “Whatever application comes in down at Westlands, it is controlled by the Ministry of Defence, with the flying regulations and everything else.”

After less than 15 minutes’ debate, the plans were unanimously approved by the committee.

Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter

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