High Court judgement expected on Damyns Hall flight increase claim

THE owner of a private aerodrome in Upminster must wait to hear the outcome of his High Court challenge to enforcement notices that allege an unlawful increase in use of the airfield.

Timothy Lyons, the owner of Damyns Hall Farm and Aerodrome, in Aveley Road, who advertises it as the only privately owned aerodrome for general aviation within the capital, is challenging a Government planning inspector’s decision to uphold an enforcement notice alleging an unlawful intensification of use of the site.

Mr Lyons, of West London, also challenges the inspector’s decision to back a notice alleging unlawful development of a steel-arched barn and hardstanding on the site.

High Court judge Frances Patterson QC has reserved her judgment, in order to deliver it at a later date, probably in writing.

Mr Lyons was granted a Certificate of Lawful Use for the aerodrome, which included stated limitations restricting the site to use by a maximum of nine light aircraft and six micro-lights at any one time. The conditions also state that no aircraft shall take off or land after dusk or before dawn, and that all aircraft not in use must be stored in hangars.

However, Havering issued an enforcement notice alleging unlawful intensification of use of the aerodrome beyond what was permitted.

It claimed that this constituted inappropriate development in the green belt, created an unacceptable increase in traffic and an unacceptable increase in noise and disturbance for neighbouring landowners.

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Mr Lyons appealed, but, in June this year, the inspector agreed that the use of the site had unlawfully intensified, citing Mr Lyons’ expressed intentions of expanding the commercial use of the airfield for private business trips.

However, Mr Lyons claims that the inspector failed to provide adequate reasons for this decision, which he says curtails his lawful use rights without any planning justification.

He argues that the enforcement notice and the decision wrongly convert the limitation figures in the certificate into strict conditions, legally enforceable by criminal sanctions, and that this has “substantially prejudiced” him.

In respect of the barn, he argues that although it has been used in part for storage of aircraft, it was erected as an agricultural building on agricultural land and therefore constitutes permitted development.