Sir James Dyson hopes to extend the existing 517-acre site, with new runway lighting, and to build a new hangar at the site, to allow business flights to land there
Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson has faced a backlash over his plans to develop a new runway on his former RAF airfield to allow 60 jets and 300 helicopters to land per year.
Residents in the area around Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire fear they will suffer from noise and pollution if plans for the runway are approved.
Sir James hopes to extend the existing 517-acre site, with new runway lighting, and to build a new hangar at the site, to allow business flights to land there.
Residents have until tomorrow to comment on the full plan for development at the former military base, which Sir James opened as a research and development centre last year.
Dyson recently announced it is moving its headquarters from nearby Malmesbury to Singapore, but that will not affect Hullavington.
The plans, which were explained by representatives from Dyson to Hullavington Parish Council at a meeting last week, have divided opinion.
Parish Council Chairman Maggie Bawden said: ‘My personal opinion is that I have no objection. I think a lot of people who are complaining don’t really understand the plan.’
Stanton St Quintin Parish Council has also written to Wiltshire Council to say it has no objection.
But people who live near the airfield disagree, and are considering setting up an action group.
James Dyson has major plans for Hullavington Airfield, pictured above, in Wiltshire
Dyson recently announced it is moving its headquarters from nearby Malmesbury to Singapore, but that will not affect Hullavington (pictured before the development)
Kate Tanner, from Stanton St Quinitin, has written to Wiltshire Council to say: ‘As a resident of a property overlooking the airfield, I wish to strongly oppose this latest planning application.
‘This is mainly due to noise and light pollution. Having helicopters and jets based at this site, without controlled flying times, will really impact quality of life in this village.
‘Regular jet and helicopter flights over the village would totally change this lovely part of Wiltshire.’
Richard Giles, from Hullavington, was worried about secrecy and wrote: ‘The planning application does not appear to make any reference to the purpose of the development.
‘Dyson purchased the airfield as a research and development location and yet the building project is for an aerodrome.
‘It is unclear whether this is to support the original purpose or is a new or subsidiary purpose.
‘It is requested that there is greater openness on the purpose of this development and the impact that this development will have on the community, particularly with respect to noise pollution and the disturbance it creates.’
A noise survey carried for Dyson and submitted to Wiltshire Council says: ‘The change in noise level is very modest even when assessed in the worst case situation.’
Dyson said: ‘The airfield is now a base for Dyson’s growing automotive teams and last year we outlined plans for a Phase Two of the Airfield project.
‘This latest planning application concerns the modernisation of the runway to enable a small number of private flights associated with managing a global company.
‘It represents part of our continued commitment to the restoration and enhancement of the historic airfield.’
Revealed: Dyson’s multi-million pound Hullavington Airfield research hub
Dyson’s second UK technology campus, located on a former Royal Air Force base, opened in 2018.
The original airfield opened in 1937, was originally an RAF Flying Training Station, but has been largely inactive since the mid-1990s.
It was one of 12 put up for sale by the MoD in January 2016.
Dyson already has two sites in the UK – its soon to move Malmesbury HQ and a Bristol software hub.
It is also investing £250 million on expanding its 56-acre HQ.
Sir James said last year: ‘After 25 years of UK growth, and continuing expansion globally, we are fast outgrowing our Malmesbury Campus.
‘The 517-acre Hullavington Campus is an investment for our future, creating a global hub for our research and development endeavours.
‘It will enable us to continue creating world-class products and jobs right here in the Cotswolds.’
At the time, Theresa May hailed the new campus plans as a ‘vote of confidence in our modern industrial strategy and our determination to cement the UK’s position as a world leader in high-tech engineering’.