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Noise fears as Herefordshire wedding venue aerodrome plans divide locals
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PLANS for a small aerodrome with a grass airstrip at a Herefordshire wedding venue have divided opinion.

Herefordshire businessman Gary Waring, who heads up wedding venue Lyde Court and Hereford's Left Bank and De Koffie Pot submitted plans for the small-scale aerodrome to Herefordshire Council earlier this month.

In the application, Mr Waring said he wants to establish the permanent use of an informally used grass airstrip and convert an existing barn into a hangar and maintenance building at Lyde Court, near Hereford.

A design and access statement submitted to Herefordshire Council's planning department said it was anticipated that the airstrip could function as a commercial and tourism-related opportunity for Hereford as well as a unique selling point for newlyweds and functions.

"This is a great opportunity for the county of Herefordshire," wrote supporter David Barrett.

"I live near Shobdon airfield and I have friends who travel from Hereford to Shobdon and store or fly their planes there, the local people in Kington and surrounding areas where I live have no complaints with the noise levels with these small aircrafts at all."

The seven others to so far share their enthusiasm for the project included Edward Lennox, who said that aviation, perhaps ironically, has a role to play in encouraging biodiversity.

"It is significant that Bodmin airfield in Cornwall, as a grass airfield, has begun to harvest endangered wild meadow seeds and be home to many rare species of insect," he said.

But others did not share their enthusiasm, with nine objections also currently lodged with the council.

Objector Kathryn Vear said the area already suffered with noise disturbance from flights, stating the proposed number of daily flights would significantly worsen this.

And noise was not the only reason cited by objectors, with the potential effect of increased traffic along narrow country lanes also highlighted.

"The narrow lanes already feel unsafe whilst dog walking in this area," wrote Nicola Nelson.

"Further traffic will require wider roads and pedestrian pathways for this to be a viable option."

And others questioned the environmental side of the plan, which they said was at odds with the vision of owners, the Duchy of Cornwall.

"The entire estate is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, who are striving to create a carbon neutral environment, wrote Christine Cooper.

"This proposal is in total conflict with this, adding carbon and CO2 too in conflict with the rural distinctiveness of the area."

Mr Waring told the Hereford Times the aim was for the formalising of the airstrip to be a ‘low key’ addition to the venue. He also plans to tackle eco concerns by planting more trees in the grounds, and aims for both Lyde Court and the Left Bank to be carbon-negative by 2026.

“We want our menus to be at least 50 per cent vegetarian and 25 per cent vegan,” he said.

“We are trying to stay ahead of the game, and having a lot of land around us means we can plant a lot of trees.”

His vision includes reinstating a former cherry orchard shown on the 1840 tithe map of the land.

“Lyde Court and Left Bank bring a lot of tourists in to Herefordshire, and every little thing that we can do to encourage people to come to Hereford is important,” Mr Waring said.

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