Officials from a West Norfolk flying club are appealing for help after they were told they will be evicted from their home of more than 30 years.
The King’s Lynn Aero Modelling Club held what it says could be its last open fly-in event at its current Roydon Common home on Sunday afternoon.
The group has been told its tenancy will not be renewed by the landowner, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT), when it expires in April next year. and fears that, without a new home, they will be grounded for good.
Club member Ray Williams said: “It would be criminal for the club to end after 30 years together.”
The group, which has around 50 members, is now hoping that they may be able to find a farmer or land-owner in the Lynn area who may have around five acres of flat-grassed land available to rent out for their use.
The club also has the support of North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, who revealed today that he had written to the trust urging them to reconsider the decision.
A trust spokesman said it had bought the land, known as Rising Heath, for £530,000 in 2011, to help protect the wider site from outside pollution.
She said: “NWT was aware of the presence of the model aeroplane club on part of the site and realised that in order to achieve its wildlife conservation and visitor access objectives, it would need to be in a position to take back the area occupied by the aeroplane club for its own use.
“If this were not the case, NWT would not have proceeded with the acquisition.”
The trust also insists that the club was told that the trust would need to take the land back for its own use during the purchasing process.
The spokesman added: “The club was entitled to remain in occupation for a further five years, during which it was hoped the club would be able to relocate.”
She said that period had now ended and the club had been given formal notice that its tenancy will end on April 20, 2017.
But Sir Henry, who said he had taken his son to watch club members flying their models, claimed the area of land the club used was “tiny” compared to the rest of the common.
He fears the chances of them finding another site was “remote” and claimed the eviction decision did not reflect well on the NWT.
He added: “It does seem to me shortsighted and harsh.”
Another club member, Gerry Betts, wrote on Facebook: “Please help to stop us being grounded.
“Having flown here since the early 80's with the co-operation of our previous farmer landlord we are now forced to find a new safe flying site, clear of power lines, tall trees, habitation and other similar obstructions.
“We are all members of the British Model Flying Association, have a good insurance policy and fly in accordance with all current CAA regulations.”
Anyone who thinks they can help the club should email email@example.com.