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Aircraft hangar plans described as ‘essential to continued growth’ of microlight firm

Microlight plane in flight from�East Durham Microlights. Picture: James Horn
Microlight plane in flight from�East Durham Microlights. Picture: James Horn

An East Durham-based aircraft firm is celebrating after winning a bid to create a new hanger for microlight planes.

Durham County Council’s area planning committee gave their approval to an application by Wheatley Hill-based business, East Durham Microlights.

Over capacity hangar At East Durham Microlights Picture: James Horn

Over capacity hangar At East Durham Microlights Picture: James Horn

The club currently stores its aircraft in a leased former agricultural building near Greenhills Farm, but has taken steps to expand in recent years following customer demand.

After winning planning permission for a new clubhouse from the council in 2015, it submitted a new bid for a larger hangar to house a maximum of 12 fixed wing planes.

An applicant statement argued the new hangar was “essential to the continued growth of the business”.

While concern had been raised over the impact of the proposal, planning officers confirmed it could be met through a new landscaping scheme.

A council report adds plans won’t provide an “intensification of the use of the site” as there is no increase in the amount of daily flights – which are restricted to 40 in one day.

A microlight flying club has operated from the site for over a decade and was previously limited to 28 days flying per year.

Today, the business is the only microlight flying club in County Durham and provides lessons for flex wing and fixed wing microlights alongside introductory flights.

Applicant James Horn, of East Durham Microlights, added: “We’re just absolutely desperate for more space, there are so many planes crushed into one hangar at the moment.

“We’re over the moon with the decision.”