Wednesday, 22 May 2019

‘Spy’ training centre at old RAF base faces opposition

PLANS to convert a disused air base into a training hub for bodyguards, private investigators and police and military personnel have again been recommended for refusal despite being scaled back, writes James Burton.

Damion Morphy, a former serviceman, wants to build a steel-framed barn at the old RAF Woodcote site in Goring Heath to hold courses in self-defence, close protection and surveillance through his company Advanced Tactical Resources.

The building was going to be 32ft tall but he has reduced it by more than 6ft in response to the parish council’s concerns that it would look out of place in the rural area.

However, the council still insists it is against planning policy as new businesses aren’t allowed to build “major” developments in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Chilterns Conservation Board has also objected, saying the business shouldn’t require a rural location and the barn might be more acceptable if it was a public leisure facility.

Mr Morphy’s agent Willis & Co accused the council of “uninformed opinion” and said it hadn’t invited him to discuss the proposal.

It also said he had cleared a derelict plot that was strewn with hazardous waste and this was praised by neighbours.

Mr Morphy, an army corporal who was decorated for bravery in 2008, has previously delivered more than £1million worth of training to the Ministry of Defence. The site, which is off the B4526, is owned by his wife Claire, who owns the Camelid Veterinary Services clinic nearby.

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