High flyer’s path to rural success

An aerial view of plans for the airfield, which have been submitted to the North York Moors National Park Authority.
An aerial view of plans for the airfield, which have been submitted to the North York Moors National Park Authority.

A Scarborough bed and breakfast owner who flies planes in his spare time is hoping to transform part of his 100-acre farmland into an airfield.

Bob Walker wants to build an airstrip, including two grass runways, an aircraft hangar and a flight planning office, at South Moor Farm, Langdale End, which is situated in the national park.

The facility would house his jointly-owned single engine plane as well as up to nine small aircraft owned by local pilots.

In a planning application submitted to the North York Moors National Park Authority, Mr Walker, who has held a private pilot’s licence since 2005, said: “I fly a small since engine aircraft based at Wombleton airfield. Our aircraft is owned by a group of five pilots and we each fly about 40 trips per year to various parts of the UK. We regularly use grass runways at various air fields and it would be possible to land at South Moor Farm. Last year we had to move the plane from our pervious hangar and had some difficulty finding a new hangar. There is a shortage of hangar space some aircraft are stored outside, which reduced their useful life. I would like to build a hangar at South Moor Farm and prepare a strip of grass to use as a runway.”

The use of the proposed airfield would be restricted to experienced pilots, and there would be no training flights, practice circuits or aerobatics overhead, said Mr Walker. Flights would be confined to daylight hours and only small planes would be permitted to use the facilities. All aircraft would also be asked to avoid flying directly over houses within one mile of the farm.

Brian Barrow, from planning consultants Acorus Rural Property Services, said in the report: “It is envisaged that the proposed facilities will further enhance the bed and breakfast business currently run from South Moor Farm. It will provide economic growth in a rural area and assist in bringing tourists to the area with knock on benefits to local businesses.

“The proposal supports rural tourism and will provide and additional means of visitors to access the National Park. It will help support the local community by bringing in tourists as well as providing a service to aircraft owners in the locality.”

If the plans are give the go-ahead, the development will include a 600-metre grass strip as the main runway and a second 400-metre strip to allow aircraft to land if the wind is too strong. It will also see a hangar built, which will be similar to a farm building, as well as a small wooden building which will house the pilot logs and a rest area. There are expected to be an average of 10 take off and landings per week.

Residents have until September 4 to submit comments on the proposals.