Weston Park could stop helicopter flights

THE FUTURE of The Helicopter Museum could be in doubt if plans for a new business park are given a green light.

THE FUTURE of The Helicopter Museum could be in doubt if plans for a new business park are given a green light.

Developer Persimmon Homes wants to build on Weston's former airfield, which is close to The Helicopter Museum's flight path.

It could mean that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)stops choppers flying due to safety fears.

The developer wants to attract regional and national businesses to the area according to plans submitted to North Somerset Council.

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Plans for the 30-hectare site are due to go before the authority's west area planning committee tonight (Thurs).

The museum's operations manager, Lee Mills, said: "Flying is an essential part of this business mix and without it the whole future of the museum would be in question.

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"The trustees are keen to support redevelopment for employment on the airfield but are concerned the council has so far failed to take into account the agreed safeguarding requirements of the museum, which are to ensure air safety and to meet CAA regulations.

"This means an area of open space is required around the museum flight paths to protect against possible accidents.

"This has been pointed out to officers many times over the past 15 years and is a policy that should have been brought to the attention of prospective developers and properly respected before plans were submitted."

Persimmon Homes' director Paul Davis said the business park on the 30-hectare site will create up to 5,000 jobs, helping to reduce the number of commuters leaving the resort each day.

It will be called Weston Park and will include a road crossing the airfield, linking the M5 motorway with a light industrial park off Winterstoke Road.

The unitary authority's executive member for strategic planning, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, also a museum trustee, said he did not wish to comment.

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