Air museum bid refused take off

A PLANE fanatic has been left disappointed after a planning application to improve his museum was rejected.

Peter Vallance, who owns Gatwick Aviation Museum, at Charlwood says he does not know what he will do next but says he will fight to keep his dream alive.

He made the application to knock down existing chicken sheds and replace them with what he says would be an innovative, environmentally friendly museum to Mole Valley District Council but it was refused on Wednesday last week (July 6).

He spent just under £100,000 on the application and now says he will consider taking the application to the Secretary of State, via Crawley MP, Henry Smith.

He said: “I have not made my mind up but there is several options. One of them is to go to a public inquiry or appeal, one is to sell the place and go, and the other one is to do nothing, I haven’t decided yet.”

Peter says the cost of the planning inquiry would be in the region of £150,000 on top of the money he has already spent.

He added: “I find the short-sightedness of my local council authority pretty ridiculous. They said the building I am going to put up is 400 times bigger that it is and that is an untruth. I can’t get aeroplanes into the chicken sheds so it is going to be bigger but not that much. They did not look about my education centre or my partnership with Central Sussex College.”

Peter says he wishes the council members who sit on the planning committee had foresight and looked to the future rather than dwelling in the past.

He added: “I am trying to leave a legacy. All my assets are now in the trust of the museum. I will continue to pursue my dream through every avenue.”

Mole Valley District Council rejected the application because the site lies within the Metropolitan Green Belt area and because of concerns over the size of the new building as well as an increase in traffic.