A plan to extend use of a field by a Herefordshire village as an airstrip has divided opinion locally.

Rob Vianello of Chapel Stile Cottage, Woonton between Hereford and Kington has applied to extend the permission granted to a previous resident in 2010 to use the field to the south of the cottage for light aircraft – though this use appears to predate the 2010 application.

A barn by the cottage, built in 1999, serves as a hangar for the aircraft, while an irregular-shaped field extends 600 metres to the south, into which a strip of 400m by 20m is kept mown.


“During flying operations since the 2010 permission, there has been no record of any problems whatsoever and there has been no interference with the general well-being of the locality,” Mr Vianello’s application says.

With the single-engine light aircraft he intends to buy, he would not go beyond the maximum set down in the previous permission of eight flights a week or 416 a year, between the hours of 9am and 9pm, it adds.

But Woonton resident Iain Murdoch said the proposal “is totally out of character in a quiet rural hamlet”, would cause noise and air pollution, and “is markedly inconsistent with Herefordshire's climate change and planning policy goals”.


“We, as residents, should not be exposed to the risk [of air accident] when Shobdon airfield [eight miles away] is available to help mitigate that risk,” he added.

However fellow resident David Sawdon backed the bid, saying: “My house is quite close to the airstrip and my wife and I regularly walk the paths across the airfield when exercising our dog.

“We have had no cause to complain about the operation of the airstrip and have enjoyed seeing the occasional aircraft movements.”

The council’s public rights of way officer said that “providing warning signs where public footpaths cross the strip remain as conditions, we have no objection to continued use”.

Nor did the council’s environmental health officer foresee any impact on air quality.

For safety reasons the planes take off and land from the south end of the strip, away from the village.

Comments on the application, numbered 231060, can still be made until May 25.