CONTROVERSIAL plans to build hundreds of homes at Old Sarum airfield will go before government inspectors.

Old Sarum Airfield Ltd has taken its fight to develop 462 homes, a visitor centre, a new restaurant and aircraft hangars to the Planning Inspectorate.

The airfield operators submitted the application in May 2015 but, it says, it has now been left with “no option” but to appeal Wiltshire Council’s “failure” to determine the application.

A post on the operators’ website said: “We had been given to understand throughout this process that the council would approve our application and we had made significant changes to our proposals to meet what we consider unreasonable demands.

“By the officers’ actions and messages over recent months we have come to the difficult conclusion that the council has no intention of determining our application, instead it has taken the decision to abrogate its responsibilities to a government inspector.”

The operators have insisted that if the application is not approved then they will increase the amount of flying from the airfield to make it “viable”.

“Contrary to our good faith the council has totally reneged, perhaps having gained the noise reduction it wished due to our good faith – or perhaps the council does not care about aviation noise.

“Perhaps the most significant factor is that it would relieve many homes from the damaging effects of the very significant increase in noise, day and night, that will need to occur if our application fails.”

The decision to appeal has been welcomed by some of those against the plans.

Laverstock and Ford parish councillor Ron Champion said: “The ball is now starting to roll as it has been outstanding for years. Nothing has changed from the parish council’s current response to the planning application. There are many many points in there we object to. It is frankly an over development and the infrastructure cannot cope with it.”

Wiltshire Council said: “Applicants have the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if their application is not determined within the statutory period. However, there are outstanding planning issues and concerns expressed by consultees and third parties, so we have been in discussions with the applicant to try to resolve these issues. We will continue to try to reach agreement with the applicant up to the point the appeal case is determined.”