Filton Airfield housing plans approved

Airbus A380 lands at Filton Filton Airfield is earmarked for closure at the end of 2012

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Proposals to build up to 2,500 houses on Filton Airfield in Bristol have been given the green light.

However campaigners, including a relative of the airfield's founder, have described the plan as "sheer madness".

South Gloucestershire Council approved the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday.

BAE Systems is planning to shut the airfield at the end of 2012, which will result in the loss of 19 jobs.

The council ruled two-thirds of the site should be allocated for housing and a third for businesses.

A final decision is expected to be made by a planning inspector, next April.

Councillors believed the decision would help protect the green belt from development in the future.

Councillor Brian Allinson said: "At least now what we've done is to protect the rest of South Gloucestershire from unsustained development."

Sir George White, great-grandson of the founder of the airfield, said: "I think it is absolutely extraordinary that anybody could even contemplate destroying such an extraordinary asset to this area.

"The aircraft industry has supplied a vast number of jobs over the years to this area, and that could continue but to fall for the trap of short-term return by building houses there, is sheer madness."

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