Plans for private airstrip in Kerry appealed

Plans for an airstrip for a single-engine light aircraft in a field outside Tralee have been appealed to Bord Pleanála by locals who say their cows would be disturbed.

James McErlain got the go-ahead from Kerry County Council to use a portion of his field at Liscahane East, Ardfert for take-off and landing of his single engine Microlight aircraft.

The aircraft has a top cruising speed of 60mph, Mr McErlain said.

He also got planning for a farm shed to store the two-seater aircraft alongside farm and domestic materials.

Mr McErlain told Kerry County Council that lawnmowers and tractors make far more noise and for longer periods than his light plane would.

The location is north of Ardfert village on a cul de sac.

However privacy concerns, disturbance of cows, devaluation of property and “a proliferation of airfields in County Kerry”, were put forward by objectors to council planners.

There are also concerns the applicant would be “flying low”.

Richard and Loretta Kelly said their house is only 50m away and they feared an invasion of privacy.

Jason Kelly of Liscahane said there is an existing airfield at Ballyrobert, Ardfert 10 minutes drive away from the proposed one at Liscahane.

“This is obviously considerably shorter through the air,” Mr Kelly said.

Farmer Timothy Horgan from Ballyroe who farms in an adjacent townland said that he would be “extremely worried for the health and wellbeing of my cows if there were planes flying in over them”.

Mr McErlain told planners that the noise generated by his craft would be less than that of a lawnmower or tractor.

He said that a nearby neighbour told him it takes up to four hours to cut the grass.

His approach passing houses to land came to just 45 seconds, while take-off took 41 seconds, he said.

“I own one aircraft and will be using the strip for my own private use,” he said.

This would be mainly on Saturdays and Sundays between March and November during daylight hours, and perhaps on long summer evenings.


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