Concern grows over Midhurst flightpath plan

Farnborough airport flight tower
Farnborough airport flight tower

ONCERN is growing across the Midhurst area over a proposal for an ‘airspace grab’ in the skies above the town, which objectors claim would dramatically increase noise, the risk of accidents and pollution.

The proposals would reduce the altitude of aircraft from 7,000 feet to less than 4,000 feet over Midhurst and it is claimed threaten the amenities of thousands of residents 
as well as the future of gliding groups near Pulborough and in Hampshire which would have restricted airspace.

The South Downs National Park Authority (NPA) has objected to the plans by TAG Farnborough Airport, which handles private jets, on the grounds they would impact 
on the tranquillity and amenity of the special area.

Now West Sussex county councillor for the Midhurst area Gordon McAra has alerted Rogate, Stedham and Woolbeding parish councillors who are expected to debate the threat to their villages.

And on Monday evening, he told members of Midhurst Town Council’s finance and general purposes committee ‘these plans to fly lower will make our lives noisier, bring more pollution because 
the planes are flying lower and added to that, now we are in the centre of the national park, the last thing we want is private jets – some 20 to 25 a day – over the Midhurst area. It is unhelpful to wildlife.

“I would like the town council to raise 
an objection.”

Town councillors decided to discuss the matter at their next meeting.

A Midhurst resident, who did not want to be named, said she had recently moved to the town from the Farnborough area because living under the flight path had become unbearable.

She urged people to complain about the plans, adding if they did not they would be ‘sleepwalking into a nightmare’.

Margaret Paren, chairman of the South Downs National Park Authority, said members were ‘disappointed’ they had not been consulted and added: “We are urging the Civil Aviation Authority to reconsider these changes, particularly as the outcome of the recent London Airspace consultation may well render them unnecessary.”

She said commercial air traffic flying at lower altitudes than currently permitted would increase noise and disturbance in the national park and reduce its tranquillity.

It could also force other non-Farnborough aircraft into even lower altitudes, making the problem worse.

“The national park is also important as a space for recreation, including gliding. The Farnborough proposals would severely restrict the activities of gliding clubs, their employees and the benefits their users bring to the economy.

“Other recreational aviation activity including microlight flying, paragliding and ballooning in the park would also be negatively affected by these proposals.”