THE Yorkshire Air Ambulance's proposals for a new £2.4 million headquarters near York may not now be submitted to planners until the new year.

The helicopter rescue service revealed in August last year that it intended to move from its traditional base at Leeds Bradford Airport to the Tockwith area, where it intended to create Britain's first purpose-built air ambulance HQ.

The two-storey building was set to boast a visitor centre, conference and training facilities, sleeping quarters for air crews landing late in the evening and an engineering workshop so that choppers could be serviced on site.

Then chief executive Martin Eede, pictured, said the move would mean several minutes could be shaved off the time it took the helicopter to get to accidents in the York area.

He said the site would provide an opportunity for both the landing base and the charity's administration centre, currently situated at Halifax, to be together.

Visitors, including parties of schoolchildren, would also be able to learn about the work of the air ambulance, and see the helicopter in its hangar.

He said the service intended to submit a full planning application to Harrogate Borough Council after settling on one preferred location out of five potential sites and after consulting local residents.

Mr Eede said in July this year that the board would shortly decide whether to go ahead and submit an application for a site in Cattal Lane South, which forms part of the former RAF Tockwith airfield.

He said there had been "overwhelming" backing from many local residents, but two people living close to the site had raised objections and suggested alternative locations.

These had been explored, but had mostly been ruled out because of problems such as a lack of space for the helicopter to land and take off.

The service's PR and marketing manager, Laura Turner, said today that Mr Eede had resigned as chief executive in September for "personal reasons."

She said his departure had caused a delay in getting the plans finalised and submitted, but the service was now trying to complete details about matters such as noise pollution.

She said it hoped to submit the scheme "in the near future," adding that this was likely to be either towards the end of this year or early next year.