Sir James Dyson loses battle for private runway

Billionaire vacuum inventor Sir James Dyson loses battle for private runway at company airfield where he could fly in from his new Singapore headquarters

  • The billionaire inventor lodged plans eight months ago to extend his UK airfield 
  • Planned to extend the 517-acre site with new runway lighting, and a new hangar
  • Was forced to withdraw proposals over residents’ fears over noise and pollution 

Sir James Dyson has withdrawn plans to extend the airfield used for his companies

Sir James Dyson has lost a battle over plans for a private runway for his jets at his company airfield.

The billionaire inventor had hoped to extend the airfield used for his companies R&D, near Chippenham in Wiltshire, to allow business flights to land. 

He submitted proposals to extend the existing 517-acre site, with new runway lighting and a new hangar.

But he has now been forced to withdraw the plans following a furious backlash from residents, who claimed they would suffer from noise and pollution. 

Locals claimed the development would ‘ruin the character of the village’ and a ‘severe impact on the quality of life of the residents’.

The airfield was first used by Sir James in 2017 but was only for gliders. 

Had the plans been given the green light, the airfield would have been allowed to have 60 jets and 300 land every year. 

James Dyson had major plans for Hullavington Airfield, pictured above, in Wiltshire

Dyson this year announced it was moving its headquarters from nearby Malmesbury to Singapore, but that will not affect Hullavington (pictured before the development) 

Jeffery Holly, who moved to nearby Stainton St Quintin nine years ago, objected the proposals.  

He said: ‘We purchased our house in Stanton St Quintin in 2010 due to the fact it was in an unspoilt rural location. Our objection to this planning application has numerous facets. Firstly having an active runway will change the character of the village.

‘Previously there have only been intermittent gliders using the runway, causing no pollution or noise.

‘The application, if granted, would lead to a severe impact on the quality of life of the residents of Stanton St Quintin.

‘An active runway will lead to vastly increased noise levels, potentially dangerous extra traffic in country lanes and a deterioration in air quality representing an unacceptable environmental impact.

‘There has been absolutely no consultation with affected villagers to explain how this intolerable environmental application is justified or the risks mitigated.’

Resident David Haines added: ‘I strongly object to this planning application because of the implications of light pollution, noise pollution and air pollution from incoming and outgoing aircraft.

‘The noise from helicopters and jets will certainly increase in volume from present levels.

‘The airfield has never been used for commercial aircraft and despite the figures stated once the application is granted the air traffic could increase to much higher levels.’

He submitted proposals to extend the existing 517-acre site, with new runway lighting and a new hangar

Planning documents show how the billionaire had hoped to extend the runway 

William and Sarah Harmer, who have lived next to the airfield for the last 33 years, said in a statement: ‘There would be absolutely no limitation to the number of air movements each day, nor times during the day or night of flight operations.

‘We are constantly being told that executive jets are the least fuel-efficient of all civil aircraft – due to the few passengers by comparison – and so, inevitably, contribute grossly, unproportionately and unacceptably to air pollution.’

Revealed: Dyson’s multi-million pound Hullavington Airfield research hub 

Dyson’s second UK technology campus, located on a former Royal Air Force base, opened in 2018. 

The original airfield opened in 1937, was originally an RAF Flying Training Station, but has been largely inactive since the mid-1990s.

It was one of 12 put up for sale by the MoD in January 2016.

Dyson already has two sites in the UK – its soon to move Malmesbury HQ and a Bristol software hub.

 It is also investing £250 million on expanding its 56-acre HQ.

Sir James said last year: ‘After 25 years of UK growth, and continuing expansion globally, we are fast outgrowing our Malmesbury Campus.

‘The 517-acre Hullavington Campus is an investment for our future, creating a global hub for our research and development endeavours.

‘It will enable us to continue creating world-class products and jobs right here in the Cotswolds.’

 At the time, Theresa May hailed the new campus plans as a ‘vote of confidence in our modern industrial strategy and our determination to cement the UK’s position as a world leader in high-tech engineering’.

John Chadwick, representative for planning agents Weybourne Limited, confirmed the withdrawal of the aerodrome plans. 

In January, Dyson announced that he was relocating his headquarters from Wiltshire to Singapore in a move that is likely to cost the government up to £60 million a year in lost corporation tax revenues. 

In July, Sir James snapped up Singapore’s most expensive penthouse apartment for a reported £43.5million.

The Wallich Residence super penthouse – located at the top of the Guoco Tower, which became Singapore’s highest when it was completed in 2016 – covers three floors, contains five bedrooms, and features a rooftop swimming pool and Jacuzzi room.

With 21,000sq ft of living space, it is also Singapore’s largest raised apartment. 

While photos show an interior decked out with marble floors, a walk-in wardrobe big enough to hang a chandelier in, and a grand piano – the listing says a team of specialist designers and architects stand ready to customise it however the buyer wishes.

Mr Dyson and his wife Deirdre Hindmarsh became tenants of the 99-year leasehold property on June 20, according to official title records. 

A £50million penthouse apartment in New York and a 51-bedroom stately home in Gloucestershire also bear Dyson’s name on the doorbell.

The Gloucestershire home is the most opulent, boasting orangeries, lakes and a 300-acre park designed by Capability Brown which contains a helipad.

James Dyson has bought Singapore’s most expensive penthouse – the Wallich Residence super penthouse – which sits atop the city’s tallest skyscraper, the Guoco Tower. It features an outdoor swimming pool and cabana (pictured)

Mr Dyson also has a a £40million Gulfstream jet in his personal hangar, and a vast yacht called the Nahlin which once transported Edward VIII and his married lover Wallis Simpson around the Adriatic, and was restored by the inventor at a cost of £25million.

A fine art student before switching to furniture and interior design while studying at London’s prestigious Royal College of Art, Mr Dyson founded his eponymous design brand in 1979 and in order to work on the machine that would make his name – a bagless vacuum cleaner.

After some 5,000 prototypes he began selling the ‘G-Force’ vacuum in Japan in 1986, followed by a series of lawsuits that nearly bankrupted his young family.

In 1993 he began manufacturing out of a factory in Wiltshire that he bought with a loan, and by 1995 the Dyson was the best-selling vacuum cleaner in the country. 

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