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All clear for sky divers in Beccles

PUBLISHED: 08:00 23 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:55 01 August 2010

A PARACHUTE school is set to move to Beccles after the plan was given the go-ahead by Waveney planners on Wednesday.

Planning officers had advised the planning committee to turn down the plan, for the old airfield at Ellough, because of concerns over noise and nuisance, but members went against that recommendation, and RainAir, who put in the scheme, were delighted.

A PARACHUTE school is set to move to Beccles after the plan was given the go-ahead by Waveney planners on Wednesday.

Planning officers had advised the planning committee to turn down the plan, for the old airfield at Ellough, because of concerns over noise and nuisance, but members went against that recommendation, and RainAir, who put in the scheme, were delighted.

It means the family business can move its operation to the old Ellough airfield from Old Buckenham Airfield, where it currently offers jumps to first-timers and experienced parachutists.

A report by officers had said that while an occasional jump may be acceptable, the intensive frequency suggested gave "serious cause for concern" because of noise caused by the aircraft.

But the owners, the Forster family, claimed the quiet turboprop engine of its new Cessna Caravan would not be disturbing.

Rainer Forster said afterwards: "I'm very pleased, it's great news. All in all we have now got to ask the Civil Aviation Authority for permission, so we've got another hurdle to get past, but that should be a formality.

"There are not many parachuting schools left now so we'll get people from all over the country - we tend to get a lot of people doing charity jumps.”

He added: "Beccles should do quite well out of it too. People can't jump on the same day that they do the training - they have to have a morning course the day before they jump. It means that people will be spending the night at local bed and breakfasts and hotels and using the shops."

He said he expected to move the operation in April and that the first jumps would go ahead in May, and that he expected it would create up to six jobs.

The company was also allowed to upgrade the temporary permission it holds to run a light aircraft flying school at the airstrip into a permanent agreement.

As at Old Buckenham, the school at Beccles should attract thrill seekers from across the country with the promise of an adrenalin pumping leap from a plane and spectacular free fall over the Suffolk countryside. Rob Gooderham head of operations at the airfield said the school would offer 10,000ft tandem jumps to first timers as well as programmes for people wanting to qualify in solo jumping.

And he believes that with jumpers being given on the ground training at the airfield the day before making their leap visitors will spend time and money in the area.

“It should bring a lot of people into Beccles and the surrounding area and they will visit the local towns and businesses and support the shops," he said.

Beccles Town Council supported the application.

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