Planning permission for a new base for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) has been granted by South Gloucestershire Council.
The move to the new base will secure the long term future of the charity and ensure that the medical crew can continue to save lives for years to come. GWAAC’s Chief Executive John Christensen said:
“Finding a new base has been a long journey for us, and I am glad that it is now finally over and we can begin work. Our main focus has been to find a site that is easily accessible both by helicopter and car, and the Almondsbury site was the only viable option. I am pleased that we will have a modern base that will ensure that we can continue to provide this life-saving service.”
The decision to grant planning permission marks the end of four years of work, in which hundreds of sites were surveyed. The Almondsbury site was the only viable option, as it has good links for not only the helicopter, but also the two critical care cars.
A new modern hanger will be built on the site, which will house the GWAAC helicopter alongside the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter. This hanger will be a significant upgrade on the current hanger at Filton, which was built during the First World War and is one of the oldest surviving hangers in the UK. It will finally allow the charity to operate out of a building that is fit for purpose.
GWAAC has been based on Filton airfield since its first flight in 2008. However the airfield closed in 2012 and the site is now being completely re-developed, which meant that the charity needed a new home to operate from. Work is set to begin on the new base for GWAAC and NPAS early 2017, and the charity hope to be operational from the site by the end of the year.