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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 17:50 GMT
Greenbelt row over airfield plans
Redhill airfield
One option is to replace the grass with a year-round hard runway
Plans to improve an airfield in Surrey are going on display to the public amid controversy over whether the land is suitable for housing.

The owner of Redhill Aerodrome, Redhill Aerodrome Ventures Ltd (RAVL), wants to build either a year-round airfield or a 2,000-home village-style estate.

MPs Crispin Blunt and Peter Ainsworth say housing would breach the greenbelt.

But RAVL spokesman Paul Dimoldenberg said it would be up to the local councils to make a final decision.

One proposal is to replace the grass runway with a 900m hard runway, improve the control tower and build a new passenger terminal.

I hope Redhill Aerodrome will finally accept that the land is not automatically brownfield
Crispin Blunt MP

That scheme goes on public display on Thursday at the Aerodrome Cafe.

RAVL has already held a public exhibition on the other option, for the 2,000 new homes.

But MP for East Surrey, Mr Ainsworth, and MP for Reigate, Mr Blunt, turned down an invitation to a workshop to consider the design of the new village.

"We believe such a development would be a fundamental breach of greenbelt policy as well as yet more development on an already overloaded local infrastructure," said Mr Blunt.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper confirmed in a letter to the two MPs last month that the airfield was greenbelt.

"There is no presumption that previously-developed land is suitable for housing," she said.

Mr Blunt said: "I hope Redhill Aerodrome will finally accept that the land is not automatically brownfield."

RAVL has not yet submitted formal planning applications to the Reigate and Banstead and Tandridge councils.

"It is a work in progress," said Mr Dimoldenberg.

"We believe it is a brownfield site and something for the local authorities to decide. It could eventually lead to appeal."

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