Residents fear horses and livestock could be frightened by aircraft if a helipad and hangar are built in the grounds of a Grade II listed home near Stafford.
Plans have been put forward to build the facilities at Aston Hall, near Doxey and Derrington. They will be for personal use by the homeowner, who also owns an aircraft, a statement submitted to Stafford Borough Council said.
There is already an existing airfield at nearby Seighford, which was a former Royal Air Force station and is now used by Staffordshire Gliding Club.
But the application submitted to Stafford Borough Council for the development off Aston Bank has met with more than a dozen objections so far from residents who fear the aircraft will disrupt the tranquillity of the rural area for humans and animals alike.
A Haughton resident said: “It would have a devastating impact of the local wildlife and impact negatively on so many people in order for one person can get around quickly.
“It would have a totally disproportionate negative impact with very little gain overall. The noise of a helicopter is extremely loud and it would be completely unfair for local residents in the surrounding villages to have to tolerate such a major nuisance.
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“We have the railway track and Millennium garden right next to Aston Hall, with many dog walkers. Lots of people get enjoyment from walking their dogs there and this would not be possible for many as the dogs would be scared and potentially bolt.
“We feel it is a very inconsiderate and selfish act to have a helipad so close to a residential area. Also it is very close the motorway which may potentially be a distraction for drivers.”
A Creswell resident said: “This will be situated right across the road from a busy livery yard. The noise caused by a low flying helicopter will cause much distress and danger to horses in the fields or on the yard.
“It will also cause a dangerous situation for horse riders if the horses got spooked whilst being ridden. In addition there is livestock in surrounding fields around the proposed site which again could become distressed from the noise.”
A Stafford resident said: “I wholeheartedly object to this proposal. This application should be rejected and to consider it would be an insult to the local community, local residents, local livery businesses and the hard work done to introduce wildlife to the area.
“Looking at the application I see little reason that this should be approved considering the local damage that it will cause.
“There is an existing aerodrome a mere two miles from this proposal which can be used – surely it would be more sensible to use an existing provision than create a situation where local residents and wildlife are unnecessarily disturbed.
“Surely for one private dwelling to drive two miles to use existing facilities is more sensible than the disturbance to local residents and displacing of nesting birds?”
A resident of nearby Derrington said: “I strongly object to this planning application. Its close proximity to a livery yard is an accident waiting to happen.
“There are very young and nervous horses and riders at this yard, whose safety will be put at risk. A horse is a flight animal when frightened. There is also a public footpath that goes across the horses’ fields; if the horses were spooked and somebody was on this footpath, they could be seriously injured.
“It is bad enough having to ride on the roads with the increase in traffic, without the added danger of low flying helicopters. If one was to fly above whilst you were riding past, you, the horse and other road users would be put at risk.
“The helicopters that already land and take off from there are already an issue. They spook the horses in the field and if they are in the stable. This could also cause injuries to the horses.”
The current buildings at Aston Hall date back to the 17 century, with refashioning carried out in later years.
A heritage statement submitted as part of the application said: “The proposed outbuilding will have minimal impact on the property both physically and visually due to its situation and finish.
“The timber clad door will be partly visible from windows to the extreme south west of the property, with the majority of view obscured by existing tree line which is to be retained.
“The proposed ‘living structure’ finish to walls and roof will also aid in this, camouflaging the structure, utilising soil from the excavation in its completion.
“Similarly, the helipad will be designed so that it bears minimal impact, with its only clear view from directly above.
“Structurally, the proposed hangar is to be constructed some 35 metres from the property on the secondary southern lawn and access during this phase will be carefully coordinated to ensure no impact on both Aston Hall and associated landscaping.”