Hopes high after ‘no houses’ call for Wellesbourne Airfield

Wellesbourne Airfield
Wellesbourne Airfield
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Hope has returned to the threatened Wellesbourne Airfield after a planning inspector said that houses should not be built at the aviation site.

An inspector examining Stratford’s Core Strategy has provisionally stated that the site should not be permitted for housing, and where possible retain aviation use.

The XM655 preservation group by Timeline events at Wellesbourne Airfield -with an aim of recreating the scene when the aircraft were in service during the Cold War. Picture by P.Neale

The XM655 preservation group by Timeline events at Wellesbourne Airfield -with an aim of recreating the scene when the aircraft were in service during the Cold War. Picture by P.Neale

While the decision is yet to be finalised, his views throw into question a decision by owners, Littler Investments to redevelop the site - an announcement which led to fears that a planning application for hundreds of houses would resurface.

Despite still not knowing what the future holds since being served eviction notices in December, businesses say it is progress in the “David and Goliath” battle to retain flights.

Frankie Stuart, secretary of campaign group, Wellesbourne Matters said: “We are on tenterhooks for a decision but this is very welcome news.

“We still do not know what owners plan to do, but if they cannot build houses then we hope the airfield can remain.

We are on tenterhooks for a decision but this is very welcome news

Frankie Stuart

“It is a case now of just waiting. This is a marvellous airfield and we have to thank all the tremendous people who have support our campaigns.

“There are many thriving businesses here and to see we have this support is fantastic.”

The airfield is home to flying schools, an aircraft maintenance businesses, the Touchdown Cafe and Wellesbourne Market. It also houses a Avro Vulcan XM655 - one of three remaining taxiable Avro Vulcans which is maintained on site by the 655 Maintenance and Preservation Society.

More than 100 people are employed on the site, and would all be forced out if owners continue with redevelopment plans in light of the housing decision.

Stratford District Council, which has been supporting businesses since the announcement last year, described the inspector’s provisional view as a “really positive step” to retaining an airfield.

A statement read: “The planning inspector who is examining the Core Strategy has provisionally indicated that he supports the council’s wish to retain and support the enhancement of the established flying functions and aviation related facilities at Wellesbourne Airfield.

“If confirmed, the provisional view from the inspector is a really positive step for those that use Wellesbourne Airfield.”

Plans for 1,600 houses at the site were fought off in 2014, and if the Core Strategy upholds the inspector’s views, the plan will not resurface.

Stratford District Council said: “At no time was the airfield included in the proposed Core Strategy for future housing.”

MP, Jeremy Wright has also said that he believes housing should not be considered there.

Plans for 1,600 houses at the site were fought off in 2014 after ongoing campaigns that the move would turn the village into a small town.

The unpopular application including a primary school, sports pitches, play areas, shops, a community hall and had land set aside for a potential secondary school.