A new airbase for air ambulances could be built after planning permission was submitted.

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance has applied for planning from Epping Forest District for premises in North Weald in a bid to secure the future of the North Weald operation of the charity.

If the plans are successful, work is set to commence in 2019 and forecast to be completed before October 2020.

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance is a charity that provides a emergency helicopter assistance for critically ill and injured persons in Essex, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas.

The charity is provided free of charge, but does not receive government or National Lottery funding.

The teams tended to 1505 patients in 2017/18.

The charity's chair of trustees Jonathan Trower said: : “The decision to proceed with this development, which will cost in the region of £4 million, was taken after long and careful consideration by the Trustees and the Executive Team.

“Having looked at all the options for securing the long term security of our operation, we believe that building our own facility at North Weald is the best way forward.

"It will give us security of tenure after October 2020, when our current lease expires, and building ourselves results in significant cost savings compared to leasing a new building built to the same specification.

“The Trustees are delighted that it has been possible to produce a design of such high quality which also meets the requirement of being as cost effective as possible.”

The charity is also considering ways to improve and future-proof its Earls Colne, Essex, airbase.

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance operations director Cliff Gale said: “As well as providing improved facilities for aircraft, vehicles and crew, the building will give the charity security of tenure which will allow us to plan effectively for the future.

“The proposed structure will contain areas for training, mentoring, patient liaison and cross training with other emergency services, which will benefit both the charity and the local pre-hospital care community.

"The new facility will also provide a visitor centre which will allow us to welcome and engage with the local community and space for our Hertfordshire fundraising team to work more closely with their clinical colleagues.”