Yorkshire Air Ambulance could relocate Leeds Bradford Airport base to Nostell Priory in Wakefield

Yorkshire Air Ambulance's two helicopters in flight
Yorkshire Air Ambulance's two helicopters in flight

EMERGENCY helicopters could soon be flying from the grounds of the Nostell Priory estate.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is looking to set up a base at a former nursery warehouse at the National Trust site just off Doncaster Road.

The charity currently provides two helicopters for emergency help from bases at Leeds Bradford Airport and RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk.

But if planning permission is approved for the Nostell site, the charity could relocate from Leeds Bradford Airport.

In a statement released by the YAA to the Express, it said: “The YAA is currently carrying out a feasibility study with regards to relocating their current Leeds Bradford International Airport airbase to the currently vacant Nostell Priory Roses building, which is within the Nostell Estate near Wakefield.

“The charity has been looking to identify an alternative location to further enhance the service they currently provide across the region, as well as providing a dedicated airbase and office facilities, similar to those recently announced at the RAF Topcliffe base in North Yorkshire.

“While still at a very early stage, the YAA will be carrying out a number of investigations and consultations to determine the suitability of the proposed site.

“The charity would like to clarify that no decisions about relocation has been made at this time.

“The Yorkshire Air Ambulances will continue to provide a state-of-the-art rapid response helicopter emergency medical service across the region every day of every year.”

The charity is seeking planning permission from Wakefield Council for the change of use of the former Nostell Priory Roses site, which is on Green Belt land.

Plans include converting an empty warehouse into a hanger to keep the helicopter overnight, forming a landing pad and fuel area and creating office space, canteen and rest areas for five crew members.

In a design and access statement submitted to the council, agent David Boulton of Carter Jonas, said: “The benefits of this proposal focus around the ability to provide a better service to the community now and into the future. They will enable positive improvements in people’s quality of life.

“The proposal would provide a long-term base for this community asset which would have a notable and positive impact upon the local population within the district and at a wider scale across the region.

“The YAA presently operates from two bases. These two sites, in reality, provide inadequate coverage across the Yorkshire region as a whole and do not minimise response times to be achieved – which of course is critical given the role of the YAA.

“Underlying demands on operational airspace at Leeds-Bradford can add 10 minutes to both take off and landing times. This generates a basic consequence in reduced response times to any incident ,and increased patient risk, as well as, in terms of landing delays, additional costs to the organisation.

“The inherent need for an effective operational base for the YAA cannot be questioned. It is more of a necessity than a simple need.”

The YAA predominantly deals with major head and spinal injuries in remote areas and for crashes on the busy M1 and M62 motorways.

It has helped more than 4,300 casualties in the past 12 years.