A Ryanair pilot has warned that a proposed 72-home development in Flitch Green, Little Dunmow could put her passengers on flights from Stansted Airport at risk should planning permission be granted.

During a meeting of Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) planning committee last week (August 30), pilot Robyn Marshall, who lives close to the proposed development, told councillors of the "extremely negative impact" the plans would have on her sleep - and in turn the safety of the hundreds of aircraft passengers she transports every day.

The pilot said the sudden presence of construction traffic has sparked fears of a noise nuisance for current residents of houses in Baynard Avenue, Fitzwalter Road and Oakwood Park respectively.

Addressing the committee, Robyn Marshall said: "When you’re operating an aircraft at 40,000 feet and flying at more than 500 miles per hour, you don’t want to be tired."

The Ryanair captain voiced her concerns over the likelihood of construction work clashing with her rest periods in between variable shifts, which would leave her "unrested and unsafe to fly".

Ms Marshall added: "Safety is always (Ryanair’s) first consideration, and the demand on its pilots is significant.

"You will appreciate the importance of safety as a priority in my life. The noise nuisance (from construction traffic)…will condemn me either to fly without proper rest or lose my job as a senior captain."

The application for land north of Baynard Avenue in Flitch Green, Little Dunmow, is recommended for approval with conditions and is classed as reserved matters except for structural landscaping and proposed access for both residents and construction vehicles.

As many as 40 per cent of the homes included in the proposed development will be allocated as affordable housing, which will contribute to UDC’s five-year housing supply as identified in a report published in December 2022.

The site will also include a public open space, a children’s play park and a  building for commercial or community use.


Although pedestrian links to the Flitch Way have additionally been proposed and the highways authority has made no objections, concerns were raised by councillors and public speakers over compromised pedestrian safety and increased traffic with the temporary loss of safe pavements along Baynard Avenue while construction work is undertaken.

Councillor Judy Emanuel (Residents for Uttlesford, Newport) said: "I’m still not content that we (the council) have flattened out these highways issues."

However, committee chairman Councillor Richard Freeman (Residents for Uttlesford, Saffron Walden Castle) said that organising appropriate access for construction traffic was imperative and that struggling with finding a solution to the issue "is not a reason for refusing planning permission".

Councillors voted unanimously to defer the application, and have requested alternative construction and permanent access routes to the site be submitted.