FEELING festive? Full of good cheer?

So am I, and I intend to stay that way, so I’ll be giving the City Hall’s Alamein Suite a wide berth this week.

Yes, the Old Sarum airfield planning inquiry is resuming. And it’s heavy going.

In October, protesters from Laverstock and Ford sat through seven days of evidence to the inspector who will determine whether 460-odd houses are built around this historic conservation area.

I stuck with them for five.

But quite early on I had to flee outside and park my rear on a bench for half an hour. Otherwise I’d have exploded at what seemed to me unnecessarily aggressive cross-examination of a harmless lady from Historic England by barrister John Steel.

Fortunately the inspector, Frances Mahoney possesses a sense of humour. (Sending airfield manager Angus Beale into a cupboard to do his photocopying because it made so much noise, she nicknamed him Harry Potter!) We needed something to smile about as Mr Steel, an aviation specialist representing the airfield owners, nitpicked his way through the testimony of Wiltshire Council’s experts, seldom using one word where 26 would do.

His opponent, Hashi Mohamed – who came to Britain as a child refugee, graduated from Oxford, and now combines his legal career with broadcasting – was calm and concise.

Hey, it’s no secret, I was on his side before the start. I’ve always opposed this scheme as overdevelopment of a sensitive site and I’m concerned that flying won’t survive.

Just so no-one confuses this column with an unbiased report!

Anyway, the allotted time ran out. Hence they’re reconvening.

I won’t repeat my previous arguments against this plan.

But one I’d missed before was the presence of several gun clubs using the World War One rifle range, which is under separate ownership from the airfield, very close to some of the proposed homes. They fear complaints.

The householders might not like the bangs, one enthusiast declared, and their pets certainly wouldn’t. “Their quality of life won’t be very good, and we ain’t going nowhere.”

There were lots of figures flying around as the two sides debated the value of the scheme and how much profit it would make.

Not enough to build any affordable homes, it seems.

Not that Old Sarum Airfield Ltd., owned by Bahamas-based Matthew Chance Hudson, are out for maximum gain. They are quite willing to “take a hit” to achieve “a high-quality heritage aviation-based” scheme, the inspector heard.

In which case, came the question, why haven’t they fully restored their crumbling Grade 2* hangar?

What will you do if you don’t get planning permission, Mr Hudson’s man on the spot, Grenville Hodge, was asked.

Only basic repairs to make the hangar “wind and watertight”, was the answer. And lots more flying, at all hours.

Which is a change from 2015, when he told the council they’d shut the airfield and sell to a high-volume builder such as Persimmon.

So what is there, if you get planning permission, to stop you selling to the highest bidder, he was asked.

“I can give no assurance to the inspector that she would accept, except that we won’t do it,” was the reply.