Defend Under Threat Northumberland Helicopter Pad
Aviation enthusiasts from across the world have rallied
to the defense of the under fire Elwood HLS helicopter landing
facility after a petition to close it was announced.
opened the debate about the facility back in October 2005
after a number of troubled residents emailed their views
about the disruption caused to village life.
www.pprune.org first announced the existence of a petition
to close the Northumberland helicopter pad on 11th
January 2007. A website user sparked the fight back after
allegedly learning of the petition from the owner of the
Elwood HLS helicopter landing facility.
Since the petition
was announced, Barrasford.net
has received hundreds of votes in favor of the landing pad
from all corners of the globe. Aviation enthusiasts from
Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India,
Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands,
New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan,
Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States
of America have logged on to have their say in the debate.
There are now 714 votes in favor of the landing site, with
only 46 votes against.
debate sparked outrage at rival site www.flyer.co.uk and
the aviation fraternity suggested many arguments why the
Elwood HLS facility should be retained.
helicopter pad is allegedly used by world leaders, royalty,
peers and even former Formula One drivers as well as the
the privileged few who can afford to fly helicopters. An
open day has been suggested to allay fears within the local
in favor of Elwood HLS cited by the lobbyists include:
- Elwood HLS is a life saver
and has saved at least one crew from crashing when the
weather took a turn for the worse.
- The Northumberland helicopter
landing pad has put Barrasford on the map, at least for
- The Elwood HLS is good
for the local economy.
- The site is an ideal place
for the Northumbria Air Ambulance to land and refuel.
- Robin and Joan, who run
the facility, make the best bacon sandwiches and flapjacks
- Royal Air Force fast jets
have flown over the area for decades, causing much more
noise that the dozens of choppers who fly out of Elwood
- Safety concerns are unfounded
due to the type of fuel stored there and the huge amounts
of foam on hand to douse any potential fire risk.
A minority of
aviation lobbyists saw the debate as an opportunity to criticize
Barrasford. One voter regards our village as a 'decaying
dump', and many voted several times after instructions on
how to hijack the vote were posted on the flying forums.
A 'robot' has even been used to hijack the vote.
The NIMBY attitude
of those against the site was criticized, without taking
time to consider the impact on the community.
number of those in favor of Elwood HLS have never visited
it. This was evident from comments about it being the ideal
place for the Air Ambulance to land. This is the least densely
populated area in England and it is more difficult to find
areas where it cannot land! Another voter questioned residents
attitude to the soon to open railway line which in fact
closed in 1958. Few flyers have been tempted in to Barrasford
Shop as yet, and it is unknown which other aspects
of the local economy really benefit.
A Local Success
residents must surely stand back and admire the way this
local success story has drawn on support from across the
world to highlight a hitherto unsaid aspect to this debate.
Regardless of it's future, it is great to see a Barrasford
business draw in clients from far afield and earn such
healthy respect and affection.
I for one look
forward to the upcoming open day at Elwood, not only to
experience the facility at close quarters, but also to sample
the world famous bacon butties and flapjacks. If the open
day fails to take place it may even be worth trampolining
over the fence to sample this renowned Northumbrian fayre,
although this may not be sufficient to qualify as a member
of the closed knit aviation community!
is truly put in to context when one compares it to the uncertain
future surrounding Barrasford
Village Hall. This real community asset plays host
to the local playgroup and other essential community events
but is under threat due to a lack of funding.
For the price
of one helicopter this true community asset would be rebuilt
and secured for generations to come. It would be great to
see some of the flyers help out with this important cause
to the benefit of all with an interest in the village of
Barrasford. That would surely be a benefit nobody could
Elwood HLS debate will roll on so whatever your view on
this Northumberland helicopter pad,
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