A company’s bid to set up a temporary helipad to serve its offshore wind farms has taken off.
Galloper Offshore Wind Ltd needs the facility for up to 24 months while a more permanent base is established at Harwich International Port.
It identified Great Oakley Lodge in Harwich Road, Great Oakley, which is already operating as an airfield.
Last night Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Planning Committee agreed the temporary scheme which includes a porta-cabin as an office and canteen, a new fuel storage tank, refuelling, lighting and car parking at the site.
The helipad will be needed from the middle of November until approval is granted for the permanent base and has been constructed.
Great Oakley Airfield is already allowed three helicopter take-offs per day and Galloper will require up to a maximum of a further 20 movements.
Susanne Ennos, TDC’s Planning Team Leader, said: “It is considered that this will fit well with the existing farm buildings and there will not be a significant adverse impact on the character of the surrounding area.
“The flight path originally submitted has been amended to take in the views of the RSPB and Natural England.”
She said the facility is required to get staff to wind farms off the Suffolk Coast, where a significant investment in national infrastructure is being undertaken.
“It is very much a balance between supporting business and protecting residential amenities and we feel this can be achieved,” she added.
The committee approved the scheme with ten votes for and one abstention and imposed 14 conditions.
These included allowing the use until such time as the helipad can be relocated – if it is earlier that the two years – and putting up signage to warn people using a public right of way at the airfield.