Council to make compulsory purchase order for Wellesbourne Airfield

Wellesbourne Airfield.
Wellesbourne Airfield.

A compulsory purchase order (CPO) for Wellesbourne Airfield is to be put in place after councillors at yesterday’s (Monday) Stratford District Council cabinet meeting agreed to the recommendation.

The process will now run alongside continuing talks between the council and the landowners about a voluntary sale of the 236-acre site.

A letter from two members of the Littler family who own the airfield was circulated ahead of the meeting and called for councillors to hold off on the CPO as it was their understanding that the prospects of the council being successful was ‘highly questionable’ and that the £1.125m to cover legal costs could be wasted.

It also asked that a decision be delayed so that discussions could take place between the two parties.

But at the meeting, the portfolio holder for resources and property Cllr Lynda Orgam (Con Bridgetown) said the CPO was an important step forward.

“This is the next major milestone,” she explained. “Negotiations have been ongoing with the owners, which is all part of the CPO process, for the voluntary acquisition. The CPO will now run in parallel to the negotiations in order to guarantee acquisition of the land and safeguard its operational use.”

Cllr Organ added that the airfield was an important employment site, of which there was a shortage within the district, and it supported a number of local jobs with an estimated 200 people working in ten businesses housed there.

She said: ”The council has a clear idea of how it intends to use the land and is in discussions with potential operators should the acquisition of the site be successful.”

A report before councillors explained that the current owners had entered into an agreement with a firm Gladman Developments which would see around 1,800 new houses built at the Wellesbourne site which it said had been operated as an airfield since WWII.

Referring to the money put aside to cover legal costs of a CPO, deputy leader Mark Cargill (Con Bidford West and Salford), who was chairing the meeting, said there had been public support for such actions.

He said: “In the Citizens Panel feedback we had, 61 per cent were in favour of that so I think there is certainly a groundswell of support for this action.”