Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

Public 'support' for Llanbedr airfield plan

Llanbedr airfield
The Snowdonia Society has objected to plans for the airfield

Developers hoping to reopen an airfield say they are encouraged by support at a packed public meeting.

Meirionnydd Nant Conwy MP Elfyn Llwyd MP chaired the meeting to "clear the air" about proposals for Llanbedr airfield in Gwynedd.

Llanbedr Airfield Estates wants to use the land for private flights and let empty buildings on the site for business use.

The Snowdonia Society has opposed the proposals.

The society argues that a commercial airfield would go against the key aims of the national park to protect the landscape and give enjoyment to the public.

The public meeting was organised by Llanbedr Community Council, which is backing the proposals for the airfield.

David Young, Llanbedr Airfield Estates director, told BBC Wales: "It was incredibly encouraging to see a packed village hall in Llanbedr and, as far as I could tell, all bar four absolutely still behind our reopening of Llanbedr airfield.

We want future use of this site to form part of a wider strategy for regenerating Ardudwy which will bring the maximum benefit to the whole area
The Snowdonia Society

"It was also very encouraging to hear the chairman of Snowdonia National Park Authority say that their doors are still open."

Mr Young said he was concerned that a "stalemate" had been reached with the park authority but now believed progress could be made.

"What we have to understand right now is that we have wasted two years at the site at Llanbedr," he said.

"From our point of view, the site has got to be opened this spring."

The Snowdonia Society said it regretted the developers' "determination not to apply for planning permission, thereby avoiding normal statutory safeguards for the environment".

"We do not wish this site to be sterilised. In particular we have consistently supported use of the existing buildings to provide space for local businesses and jobs for local people," the society said in a statement after the meeting.

Tourism industry

"We want future use of this site to form part of a wider strategy for regenerating Ardudwy which will bring the maximum benefit to the whole area.

"We also want future use of this site to be compatible with the status of the area as a national park and with the multi-million pound tourism industry founded on that."

Mr Young argued that formal planning permission would take too long, possibly another 18 months, and he hoped the wording for a "certificate of lawful use" could be agreed with the park authority.

The park authority previously refused the certificates that would allow the site to reopen.

Llanbedr Airfield Estates was formed by Kemble Air Services, which runs Cotswold Airport at Cirencester in Gloucestershire.

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