Horncastle

Bardney shooting centre to close after government inspector dismisses planning appeal

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A clay pigeon shooting centre on the site of a former World War Two airfield will close at the weekend after a government inspector backed the council’s decision to refuse planning permission.

Bardney Clays opened in September 2014 but has faced an uphill battle to secure planning permission in the last four years, and will now close on Sunday, April 15, with seven people set to lose their jobs.

Bardney Clays shooting centre east of Lincoln

West Lindsey District Council rejected plans for the centre on Bardney Airfield in 2016 and 2017, claiming shooting unacceptably harms the living conditions of nearby residents and that the applicant had failed to demonstrate that they would mitigate the noise levels.

Applicants GB Skeet and Trap Supplies Ltd appealed the council’s decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

However, Inspector Brian Rogers, in delivering his assessment, dismissed the applicant’s appeal.

He said: “At the site visit, my request to hear the impact of on-site shooting from any of the neighbouring properties was declined. However, the 2017 report accepts that noise levels from shooting may have been (and may still be) sufficiently high as to lead to justifiable complaints about noise.

“I have taken account of the length of time the use would be in operation, at least 208 days a year, and the fact that a significant amount of use would be during summer evenings and at weekends.

“The type of sound would appear to be sharp and impulsive, rather than constant. In my view, the adverse impact on the living conditions of the occupants of the two nearby bungalows would be unacceptable.

“On balance, I find that the level of harm which I have identified significantly outweighs any benefit to the local economy.”

Chris Walton from the shooting centre said that he felt they had been “victimised” over the years.

He said: “We feel that the benefit of a clay shooting ground in rural Lincolnshire has been completely overlooked.

“This county has the highest number of shotgun and firearms licence holders in the country. Lincolnshire people live and breathe shooting but find themselves with a decreasing number of facilities with which to enjoy their sport.

“Furthermore, disciplines of clay pigeon shooting are recognised Olympic sports and in our opinion should be supported by local councils and governing bodies.

“Other local businesses, mainly in Bardney, will have no doubt felt the benefit of the clay ground. We attract members of the public from the majority of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

“Perhaps the most significant negative of our closure will be the loss of our staff. We currently employ seven staff members, five of which are local and will inevitably lose their jobs.”