Helipad plans for private estate by M25 create stir in Lower Kingswood

Helipad plan submitted to Reigate and Banstead

Helipad plan submitted to Reigate and Banstead

First published in News Sutton Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Plans to build a helipad in the grounds of a large private home near the M25 are raising eyebrows in an affluent part of Surrey.

Kingswood Hall Estate has drawn up plans for helicopters to land and take off from its grounds in Margery Wood Lane, Lower Kingswood.

The helipad is seen as permitted development, but the estate has applied for a lawful development certificate from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

Sutton Guardian:

Tony Taylor, CEO of company Commercial Drawing Services, said his client has already received planning permission for the redevelopment of the "very large" private house.

Mr Taylor said: "They have decided they would like a helipad. It’s the sort of thing property owners have a need of in today’s world."

He said quite a lot of helicopters already go over the area, adding: "It’s out of the way so very unlikely that people will get disturbed by helicopter noise."

But Surrey County Councillor Bob Gardner said the site is adjacent to National Trust land and there had already been an increase in air traffic due to rerouting of flights.

Sutton Guardian:

He said: "I was concerned that somebody would want to go to the extent of having a concrete helipad in the garden, particularly with its close proximity to the M25 and Gatwick Airport.

"I have spoken to some of the residents in and around Lower Kingswood. Some are concerned about additional noise and some are not at all."

Sutton Guardian:

Start of private drive leading to Kingswood Hall

In a letter submitted with the plans, the council’s development quality manager Kevin Hinton said helicopters could be used for a maximum of 28 days per year.

"The touchdown and lift off area, approach and acceleration and deceleration lane, will be over the estate’s adjoining agricultural land," he said. "No private dwellings will be flown over."

Councillor Simon Parnell, who represents Kingswood with Burgh Heath, said residents have told him there are already two or three other helipads located in Lower Kingswood.

He said: "That was news to me. I’m making sure the right questions are being asked and I’m consulting with officers because it's not something I have been exposed to before."

Sutton Guardian:

Countryside near Kingswood Hall

Coun Parnell has asked whether the council is responsible for considering different issues such as flight paths, its proximity to the motorway and noise to neighbours.

He added: "You do hear cases of private pilots landing on homes and having accidents. I think that is the sort of story that concerns residents."

A spokesman at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said pilots need the landowner's permission in order to land and must not touch down too close to trees and other buildings.

But he said: "As long as it is outside controlled airspace and the pilot follows all the safety rules and regulations, you don’t need permission or approval to fly."

There are already concerns about the noise generated by aircraft flying over the surrounding area.

On Tuesday a pensioner, from Heath Close in Banstead, complained to the Epsom Guardian about the increasing number of helicopters and planes going overhead.

She said: "We have got too many already. They just seem to be flying back and forth willy-nilly. We go out in the garden and it gets quite noisy at times. I suffer from migraines so that’s not helpful."

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