Gliding club fears over homes scheme

The proposed site to the north west of Barmby Road, Pocklington.
The proposed site to the north west of Barmby Road, Pocklington.

Plans for a new housing 
development in Pocklington have caused controversy, with the town’s gliding club claiming it may have to close if the scheme went ahead.

A planning application has been submitted to East Riding Council to build the new houses on land to the north west of Barmby Road, near to Pocklington Airfield, where Wolds Gliding Club is based.

The proposed site (POC-1) is not one of the sites that East Riding Council has allocated for housing in the Local Plan.

Wolds Gliding Club has objected to the planning application on the grounds that it would compromise its flying operations at the airfield.

David Wheeler, the club’s treasurer, said: “The POC-1 site is directly at the end of our north south runway. We have to take off into wind and if the wind is blowing from the north we have to take off in that direction. If we are taking off with a heavy glider on an aerotow we would still be relatively low by the end of the runway. If there is an engine failure the only place we can go is straight ahead and that is our safety net gone.”

He added: “The other thing is we can’t stop the noise pollution. The winch engine would be making noise which people would get fed up of. We try to avoid flying over houses to avoid annoying people.

“[If the plans went ahead] Eventually it could close the club down. I wouldn’t say it would close us straight away. But if people complain then that could lead to us having to close. That would remove the buffer between Pocklington and the industrial estate.”

Martin Cooper, who is a Pocklington town councillor and the vice chairman of Pocklington and Wolds Gateway Partnership, strongly opposes the plans. He said: “East Riding Council have already looked at this site and decided that they were against it. That is why it didn’t get allocation for housing. POC-1 is in direct line with the flight path of the airfield, it would give pilots no place to respond to an emergency.”

Town planning consultant Jennifer Hubbard, the agent for the application, submitted by David Fielder, said: “The land has been put forward as a site for residential development at various times during the production of East Riding’s latest Local Plan but was not carried forward as a housing allocation by the council because initially it was affected by the protected line of the York to Beverley railway and also there were concerns about the potential impact of the development on the Wolds Gliding Club. The protected railway line was later abandoned and Mr Fielder, the landowner, subsequently obtained advice from an experienced glider pilot with knowledge of Pocklington Airfield who confirmed that in his professional opinion current gliding activities and the proposing housing could safely co-exist.

“A Transport Assessment submitted with the application indicates that the existing access into the site is suitable and that there is capacity in the surrounding highway network to accommodate traffic from the development. In order to be robust, the Transport Assessment has assumed there would be 250 dwellings on the site. Once the council’s open space requirements have been met and a mains sewer which crosses the site has been incorporated in some on-site green space, the actual figure is likely to be significantly lower than 250 dwellings.”

Should planning permission be granted, the site would be offered to the market and prospective purchasers would have their own ideas how it could best be 
developed.