Lift-off has been granted for a retrospective planning application by Omega Proteins for a helicopter landing pad and connecting footpath to its animal rendering plant at Penrith.
Eden Council’s planning committee has this morning given the go-ahead for the plan, despite dissenting voices.
Objector Jeff Thomson, of campaign group Fresh Air for Penrith, said: “Helicopter noise will impact on local residents, potentially day or night, as the plant operates 24/7. It is anti-social.”
Charlie Shepherd, vice-chairman of Penrith Town Council’s planning committee, said: “Helicopters are noisy and polluting by their nature. The proposed helipad is only 80m from an existing building and the public road.
“Many of the flight paths will pass over a considerable number of housing causing noise and a reduction in the quality of life for these people.
Andrew Watt, of Maze Planning Solutions, said the application was being recommended for approval with conditions which would sensibly limit the use of the helipad to daytime hours only and put a bar on refueling — preventing any spillages.”
Mr Watt said Omega Proteins had been using helicopter transport to visit the site for over 10 years, so this was not a new activity.
“Helicopter transport is a vital tool for the Leo Group (who own Omega Proteins). It enables the business owner and managers to oversee and attend multiple sites,” said Mr Watt.
It was agreed that approval be granted, with conditions, including an agreement to be negotiated over the number of helicopter movements — in and out of the site — to be allowed each week.