Enforcement action against Helicopter Museum

Helicopter Museum

Helicopter Museum - Credit: Archant

ENFORCEMENT action has been taken against the Helicopter Museum after unauthorised flights took place.

North Somerset Council found the museum to be in breach of its planning conditions and ordered those flights be stopped.

The Helicopter Museum, in Locking Moor Road on the outskirts of Weston, has permission to carry out short air experience flights for 28 days a year.

These are normally once a month, depending on weather, and then more frequently during the summer holidays.

But the museum’s flight operator, Polo Aviation, also hosted flights which were deemed to be pleasure flights – much longer trips usually for sightseeing.

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The council said: “We did find evidence that some unauthorised pleasure flights were taking place and have asked for a planning application to be submitted.

“In the meantime we have been made aware that the flights have stopped and we are continuing to monitor the situation.”

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Museum business manager Wendy Cowlin said: “In essence, we have planning permission under our ancillary rights to carry out air experience flights for visitors and flights by helicopters kept at the museum, visiting helicopters and the military.

“The recent planning query was over air experience flights being organised by our franchise operator, Polo Aviation, rather than directly by the museum, which were considered by the council not to fall under the ancillary tag.

“As a result we told Polo not to do this anymore and have stopped this activity.”

The council was also looking into reports of unauthorised advertisements at the museum.

But Ms Cowlin refuted this, and said: “This appears to have been due to a misunderstanding within the council regarding the highways policy as it applies to charities and temporary signing and has now been cleared up.

“We do our best to work with the community, continuing a tradition of flying and helicopters that dates back 60 years. We are always willing to respond to sensible and legitimate comments from residents where we can.”

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