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Unsuccessful pilot: UCS Hampstead stops helicopters landing in playing fields after neighbours complain

PUBLISHED: 16:39 12 October 2018

A helicopter landing on the UCS playing fields.

A helicopter landing on the UCS playing fields.

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A Hampstead school has scrapped a pilot project that saw commercial helicopters landing on its playing fields after neighbours complained it was causing “quite a riot”.

As reported by the Ham&High yesterday, UCS Hampstead painted a large H on its 27-acre playing field so Elite Helicopters could touch down there in exchange for a donation to its rugby facilities.

But homeowners were told nothing about it and complained the landings were making their alarms go off. Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer also raised concerns about safety and disturbance.

Now the school has decided to cancel the “trial” after it was discussed at a governors meeting last night.

Nigel Stock, director of operations, told us: “There is no commercial contract with the operators of the helicopter or any intention that regular landings will take place.

“Indeed, following this trial, and with fuller use of the newly-seeded playing fields anticipated soon, we have decided to halt this activity with immediate effect.”

Mr Stock said although it was now stopping the trial, the children had enjoyed it.

He said: “The aviation company fully comply with both planning and aviation law in the operation of their aircraft.

“School staff were in attendance when the landings took place.

“A small number of residents contacted the school with regard to the landings and received prompt replies, giving them full details of the arrangement and the name of the company who operate the aircraft.

“Pupils at UCS were allowed to talk to the pilot and view the helicopter when it landed.”

Headmaster Mark Beard told a neighbour: “You will want to know that we agreed to stop this activity with immediate effect. It was never the school’s intent to cause disturbance and concern to our neighbours and we are sorry that this was the case.”

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