Council apology over failure on airport checks

Neville Huxtable leader of Hambleton District Council
Neville Huxtable leader of Hambleton District Council

A COUNCIL leader has issued a public apology after his authority was found guilty of maladministration for failing to enforce adequate controls on a Yorkshire airfield’s use.

Hambleton District Council’s leader Neville Huxtable maintained the issues surrounding Bagby Airfield, near Thirsk, are complex and date back a decade, but yesterday offered the apology to residents living near the site.

It was revealed in April that Local Government Ombudsman Anne Seex had concluded the council failed to take action despite the airfield’s operations contravening planning permission. It is thought to be the first case of maladministration the council has been found guilty of in its 38-year history.

Coun Huxtable confirmed the council has issued enforcement notices to re-establish planning control over the site after residents staged a campaign against development of the airfield and the number of flights there.

But he added: “The ombudsman has determined that errors have been made in the past and as a result feels it appropriate that the council should offer an apology to residents and make a financial contribution to the affected communities. As leader of the council, I would like to publicly apologise to the residents of Bagby and Thirkleby for any mistake the council has made and the distress it may have caused.”

Coun Huxtable confirmed £5,000 has been donated to the two parishes of Bagby and Thirkleby for community projects as compensation for the errors. Ms Seex had told the council to provide the funding for projects agreed with the parish councils.