Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Airsoft event - RAF Nocton Hall

What's on in Nocton, Lincolnshire

If you don't have access to the new 'What's on in Nocton, Lincolnshire' Facebook page, you might like to know the following information has been posted by a Nick Pratt of Sleaford:

'Ai500 have signed a 5 year exclusive deal to hold airsoft events (like the ones planned back in 2008) at old raf nocton hall. The first one is booked for october 2016 this year.'

Ai500 is on Facebook

I have checked and Ai500 is also on Facebook... and this is on public access where you can read the following:

'We recently signed the exclusive contacts on the new site for the October 2016 Ai500. Airsoft International also has the exclusive rights to the site for the next 5 years - 67 Acre's - Location Lincolnshire.'

Check out the video dated 7th May.

What is the AI500?

'At it’s simplest, the AI500 is a bi-annual airsoft game, run and hosted by Airsoft International.'

Airsoft International

Website: http://www.ai-mag.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/airsoftint/

Airsoft World Net: https://www.airsoftworld.net/

Parish Council meeting - Tues 10th May

I see from the Agenda for the meeting tonight 'Nocton Hall - Current Issues' features at Item 7:

'To receive a verbal report from the Chair and Cllr Jones following their meeting with LEDA Properties and NKDC on 9 May 2016.'

The Chair of the Parish Council commented yesterday on the 'What's on in Nocton, Lincolnshire' Facebook page:

"Having now spoken to LEDA at a meeting this afternoon with NKDC about the Hall site generally, we were told that the agreement for the use of the former hospital site by Airsoft has not yet been finalised but that it was expected to happen. There would, however, only be two such weekends a year and the position would be reviewed after the first couple of events. As it is for only two events a year, planning approval is not required as it is considered 'permitted development'. We are waiting a statement from LEDA about this matter which, hopefully, will be available in time for tomorrow's Parish Council meeting."

If you are interested in the latest news for Nocton Hall and RAF Nocton Hall, you may like to attend the Parish Council meeting and have the availability to ask further questions.

Planning Permission may not be required for the Ai500 event

This event may fall under General Permitted Development rights, however in certain circumstances prior approval has to be sought.

The Government has now comprehensively amended and consolidated the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010. These came into effect on 15 April 2015 have been consolidated into the following documents:
  1. Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.
  2. Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.
Coupled with this, there has been some amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order. There will also be new permitted development rights subject to a prior approval process for many of the changes.

What is Prior Approval?

Under Prior Approval, an intending developer wishing to take advantage of the permitted development rights must first notify the Council. If Prior Approval is refused the developer may then submit a full planning application in the normal way.

The prior approval process whereby a developer shall apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the local planning authority will be required might typically include matters relating to:
  • Transport, parking and highways impacts of the development, flooding risks on the site, and contaminated land risks on the site.

Useful Links

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015

What are permitted development rights?

When is permission required?


For those of you that remember, we have encountered something similar before - back in 2008 - when there was an application to hold Airsoft events at RAF Nocton Hall:

War games planned at former stately home

'Zulu 1 has submitted proposals to stage Airsoft games on the former site of Nocton Hall at Nocton, near Lincoln.'


Villagers win battle against war-gamers

'Residents are elated after a war-gaming company has withdrawn its application to create a battlefield in a Lincolnshire village.'


Application No and Type: N/42/0595/08 (Full)

"Proposal: Change of use of land and buildings for recreation purposes as a new gaming centre

Recommendation: REFUSAL

1. In the opinion of the Council, the proposal has the potential to cause demonstrable harm in terms of increase in noise, general disturbance and vehicular activity within the area, to the detriment of the peaceful rural character of the area and the residential amenities of the locality, contrary to policies C2(2), C5 and RST6 of the adopted North Kesteven Local Plan 2007 and to Government advice contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 (Planning for Open Space, Sport and Recreation) and Planning Policy Guidance Note 24 (Planning and Noise)."

This was the old legislation however and also related to a Full Application rather than General Permitted Development... so a different beast altogether!


  1. The Ai500 event was discussed at the Annual Parish meeting last night. It seems North Kesteven District Council has advised Ai500/Leda Properties that no 'prior approval' will be granted under General Permitted Development rights. A full planning application will be required. Therefore, the event will only go ahead if:
    1) Ai500/Leda Properties choose to submit a formal planning application AND
    2) The application is approved by North Kesteven District Council.
    Finally, it was stated that NKDC have advised Ai500/Leda Properties that they are minded to refuse any such application.

  2. The people that attend these Airsoft events are generally well mannered and conscientious of the local populace.
    Most people will stay on site in the hours between games and few will venture of premise to find a pub or co-op to find food or supplies for the game.

    I believe general ignorance (best word to mind at the time) of residents is the downfall of fantastic events like this. Sadly, sites to play are few and far between because people believe its destructive or loud. Airsoft rifles are electric for the most part so noise is barely noticeable.

    I bet you'd all be relatively surprised to know there would be little noise increase...most mess is tidied up and you'd find the players to be friendly and polite if approached.

    The organisers are very occomodating to the populace of residential areas in order for both parties to be happy.

    I have attended several of the events hosted by Airsoft international and all have been handled professionally and with the locals interests in mind.

    I feel its entirely unfair to give a fair vote on a matter without being properly informed of the finer aspects of our sport or the true impact it has on the rural area.

    Just my two pence worth.

    I do however hope the local residents can find it in themselves to give these guys a chance. Its a sport thats frowned upon....but the players and people involved are some of the friendliest bunch of people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

  3. Thank you so much for your comment. Some of my ex-military mates partake in Airsoft events and echo your views. I believe AI500 are attending a public meeting in Nocton on 18 July at 7.30pm to take questions and explain more about the event. Hopefully this will allay some of the fears of local residents. Regards.

  4. It is unfortunate that the meeting took the turn it did. Perhaps the village people were dead set against it or the organisers representative was "obnoxious" or perhaps and this is more likely the case ....All parties perceived a bit of both?

    As an airsoft player who has attended every AI500 event I do understand the village concerns, and yes Friday afternoon would have seen upwards of around 300 (and that is on the high side) people arrive at the site (not 300 cars). Promptly setup camp and perhaps respectfully use local services such as a pub, shop, fast food and other value added service. For the most part players are considerate to the surroundings and make an effort to "blend" and abide by site rules, which are site specific and change considerably from site to site. Sunday afternoon would have seen us leave, again respectfully and ensure the place was tidy.

    I wasn't privy to the meeting but can glean some information from the two "open" letters posted. Airsoft weapons are not overly noisy they have a similar noise level to an air rifle. Pyrotechnics have without a doubt got noise associated with them but given the location this noise would have barely been noticed if at all (it's a localised sound). Marker smoke is either used or it's not, it adds "value" to a scenario but is not necessary.

    It does however look like the site is off the offer table and the event organisers will need to find another site if they wish to go ahead with an October game.

    As per Mr Waller this is my two pence worth.

  5. Thankyou Michael for your comment. I didn't attend the meeting concerned so have no observation to make, however I was slightly concerned that Ai500 might not have followed due process regarding permissions for their event. I have requested a copy of the Minutes of the meeting between Ai500 and residents and will post these online as soon as I have them.

  6. What a shame. I think it would have been good for the village. Great use of the site with really very little disturbance to the residents. Such a shame that hostility was shown toward the organisers from the local people. Bad form on their part. I hope the organisers go a head anyway and not be bullied into submission. When filming took place a couple of years ago there, local residents were not happy but they were quick to have a look in and brag about it later. Even the local school children were taken out of lessons to watch the filming in action. 2 weekends a year is really nothing but the benefits would have been more far reaching.


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