REDLANDS FARM in Wanborough is the site of REDLANDS AIRFIELD.

News flash!    Skydiving and microlight noise nuisance which has ruined the lives of local people can’t end quickly enough.   Planning application for housing development at Redlands Farm and Airfield is now with Swindon Borough Council, January 2016.

Redlands Airfield Nuisance

Not only do microlights use this airfield but in a moment of monumental folly Swindon Borough Council gave almost 24/7 planning permission for a skydiving plane to fly from the airfield.  The story of how such a bad planning permission came into existence is worthy of a whole book in itself not just a blog!

Skydiving   at this airfield is a commercial business for profit; a profit generated in large part by charity jumps paid for by those doing them for the charities.  Call me cynical, but both the skydiving company and charities are profiting from an activity which causes immense harm to residents across thousands of acres of land in North Wiltshire.  This certainly is not ethical fundraising.

First do no harm….

The skydiving venture is now owned by Brucie Johnson who owns Skydive London.

Those businesses  operating from Redlands and those flying there, probably thought that objectors would just go away.  Instead of campaigners giving up, new angry protestors have entered the fray and other parish Councils, such as Chiseldon, have investigated what can be done to end the aviation noise pollution nuisance from the skydiving plane.

Skydiving from Redlands Airfield  has caused such a severe noise nuisance for people living in the area from Marlborough in the south, to Stratton St.Margaret in the north, to Ramsbury in the west and Bishopstone in the east, that Swindon Borough Council has decided to grant planning permission for houses on the airfield in the hope that the airfield will be extinguished by development. Both the microlights and the skydiving planes have elicited myriad complaints to Swindon Borough Council about noise pollution since the activities started in 1998 and 2000 respectively.  Swindon Borough Council doesn’t record noise complaints relating to aviation activities at Redlands, so officially it appears that there aren’t any complaints. A nice way for a council to hide a problem it caused.  It’s doubtful whether this is legal, but as there’s no mechanism for making council’s be legally compliant they can do pretty much what they want.  After numerous complaints to both Swindon Borough Council and the Parish Councils in the Swindon area, over more than a decade, Covingham Councillor’s decided that action needed to be taken. Instead of Swindon Borough Council issuing a planning discontinuance notice to the airfield, it decided to try and end the airfield through developing the site with the agreement of the owners.

A nice way for  business people who are causing a nuisance to profit from the nuisance they’ve caused.

It has been reported that after an open competition the owners of Redlands Farm and Airfield chose Barberry Developments for the project. In September 2014 the Clearprop office administrator said that we wouldn’t have the microlights flying for much longer “as the airfield was to be developed”. However at a planning day held in 2014 for the Eastern Swindon Development it was suggested that the Eastern Swindon Development wouldn’t reach Redlands for another 15 years. One of the EDA developers, Ainscough intends submitting planning permission for 200 homes at Lotmead Farm before the end of 2014.  It is now clear that houses will be built in proximity to the airfield before the airfield is extinguished.

One just hopes that the owners of these new properties enjoy aviation noise.

The  first microlights  based at Redlands appeared in 1991 when it was set up as a private home airfield for Redlands Farm. It then unfortunately developed into a Microlight Club which then expanded without planning permission into  Microlight Training.  It eventually ceased operating much to the relief of the neighbours, but was re-established in July 1998.  Ever since the  airfield has existed it has been the source of considerable noise nuisance and generated thousands of complaints.

The owner of the airfield, William Joseph Smith, (known as Joe Smith) was, and is, a Wanborough Parish Councillor.   After commenting upon his own business planning application at the Parish Council meeting where his application was being discussed, a formal complaint was made to the Standards Board of England. This resulted in the whole Parish Council being required to undergo re-training and other local Parish Councils were notified of the decision. The Parish Council did not understand preferential and prejudicial interest.

Unfortunately a Parish Councillor cannot be removed unless they have been convicted of a Criminal Offence.

It is time that the Government introduce a statutory time limit to ensure that Parish Councillors and Borough Councillors cannot serve a term of office of more than ten years without a break in their office holding, for example of five years.


The airfield has permission for nearly 24/7 flying. The only restriction is that flying can’t take place on Sunday before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m.


Flying is restricted by the CAA from sunrise to sunset, however flying for up to 30 minutes after sunset may be ignored and witnesses have noted flying after this time window….hey ho, rules get broken don’t they if there’s no enforcement?

Microlights really need good weather and little wind to fly safely.

Microlights can’t fly thorough cloud, it’s just too dangerous.  But this is a rule  also broken by some microlight pilots in Wiltshire.