COUNCILLORS have backed a bid to remove an airstrip - despite their officers’ recommendations.

At a meeting of Test Valley Borough Council’s (TVBC) Northern Area Planning Committee on March 28, members approved an application to build a house at Bourne Park Airfield, near Hurstbourne Tarrant.

The airfield has been in use since at least 1993, but it is now expected the grass airstrip will be removed, and all but one of the associated buildings will make way for a home and residential curtilage.

The application by the site owners was giving the backing by 115 people, all of whom wrote to TVBC to air their support, however planning officers said that it would cause the loss of employment.

During the meeting, one of the applicants, John Martin, said: “The current occupants have only one employee - full-time employed. The new house will employ at least that, in addition it will employ craftsmen to build it for the best part of two years.”

Officers also said that the noise from the aircraft was a character of the area, but supporters at the meeting said it was a “nuisance”, with Hurstbourne Parish Council “whole-heartedly” supporting the application due to “disturbance” from not only aircraft movements, but also a helicopter service station.

Parish council chairman Ian Kitson said: “The noise is constant and we can hear it clearly from the village.”

Members were told over the years the ward councillor has received a number of complaints from residents, though officers were unable to supply evidence any concerns had been put to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Applicant Mr Martin told the meeting that once the airstrip is removed, there would be 2km of hedging and 17 acres of trees, to create a “wildlife corridor”.

The idea was welcomed by committee members, stating “it is going to enhance the biodiversity of the area”.

Members approved the plan, with two against over fears it could set precedent for others looking at building in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The plan will now go to a planning control committee due to the councillors’ decision being against the officers’ recommendations.