Filton Airfield housing plans approved

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

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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