Wellesbourne Airfield demolition plans ignite anger

Wellesbourne Airfield could still be demolished despite a plan to build 1,500 homes on the site being refused.

Thursday, 8th December 2016, 12:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:43 pm
Wellesbourne Airfield

The airfield’s owners, the Littler family, wish to go ahead with demolition even though this goes against Stratford District Council’s Core Strategy.

Take Flight Aviation, which has been a tenant for the last 10 years, is fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to stop this from happening.

In an open letter sent to the owners of the airfield, the managing director of Take Flight Aviation, Mike Roberts, felt the plans went against the government.

He said: “The deliberate vandalism of one of the countries busiest general aviation airfields goes directly against the government’s vision for ‘the UK being the best place in the world for general aviation as a flourishing, wealth generating and job producing sector of the economy.’”

Stratford District Council’s leader Cllr Chris Saint has written to the government for help in trying to keep the airfield intact.

Cllr Saint said: “There is nothing to be gained by destroying businesses that employ more than 200 people.

“It is not a realistic option that demolition of operational buildings will make it easy for the owners to build a big housing estate at the airfield.

“We are confronted with an unnecessary threat to the businesses on site that would sterilise the site for any practical uses with the risk of an eyesore for many years to come.

The council is considering a compulsory purchase order, which if granted would force the owners to sell the site to the council, saving the airfield.

Cllr Dave Riches, enterprise and revenues portfolio holder, added: “The district council has always kept the compulsory purchase option as a last resort.

“Sadly, it would seem that negotiations have not progressed as we would have liked. We must consider all options to try and save the airfield, its businesses and their respective employees.

“At this point in time, compulsory purchase has now presented itself as an option we should further investigate, and are actively doing so.

“The council are not about to immediately strengthen the landowner’s position. We will use all tools at our disposal to do the best job for the taxpayer, facilitating businesses, jobs and tourism in this context.”