Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
AN OFFICIAL paving stone commemorating Stratford-upon-Avon’s forgotten war hero for the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be placed in the town, the government has confirmed. Rex Warneford – the first man to single-handedly shoot down a zeppelin - was ignored in the government’s initial plans to recognise Victoria Cross winners because he was born abroad in India. The Herald launched a campaign, together with King Edward VI school, where Rex lived and studied for five years, to get the fighter pilot recognised.
THE OWNERS of Wellesbourne Airfield want to sell it for a huge development of up to 1,600 homes.
In a controversial move, the Littler family applied to include the airfield in Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s housing guide for the next 17 years on Friday – the final day they could.
Pilots, councillors, and business based at the airfield are all opposing the plan which would close the busy airfield, with some branding the decision “disgraceful” and “disappointing”.
The future of the RAF Vulcan bomber XM655, which no longer flies but calls Wellesbourne Airfield its home, is also under threat.
Wellesbourne councillor Roger Wright has long been a supporter of the airfield.
“I think it’s monstrous,” he said. “It’s just opportunism for financial gain, and it disappoints me greatly the landowners choose to do this when you consider the investment in the airfield by the people who choose to operate there.”
As well as being the headquarters of HeliAir, the UK’s largest light helicopter company, there are several other businesses and flying schools.
South Warwickshire Flying School has been training new pilots there since 1982.
Managing Director Rodney Galiffe said the owners wanted to “cash in”. “We’ll oppose it obviously, people know Wellesbourne as their aerodrome,” he added.
Cllr Wright said: “It’s the only light aviation centre there is in the locality. Birmingham will no longer have light aviation because of its increased international status, Coventry will no doubt be redeveloped.”
The independent district councillor thinks extra homes would impact not only Wellesbourne, but also add to Stratford-upon-Avon’s traffic woes.
“Traffic would travel to Stratford, because of the increased impact on Clopton Bridge,” he said. “It’s just mayhem, you do not have the facilities in Wellesbourne, the medical facilities are already stretched.”
However, the proposal is for a mixed-use development, which means more than just houses – although at this early stage it is unknown what else could be included.
It would no doubt create jobs, but Cllr Wright said the airfield already employs somewhere in the region of up to 100 people directly and indirectly.
“There must be 60 odd aircraft based there, it is a hub of activity,” he said.
Wellesbourne Airfield is perhaps best known for its huge Vulcan Bomber. In RAF service for 20 years between 1964 and 1984, its taxi runs are popular with flying enthusiasts.
Charles Brimson, Chairman of the Vulcan’s Maintenance and Preservation Society, said: “For me the Vulcan is a really important part of the local community and it has great historical interest. It’s quite an iconic part of south Warwickshire, and it will be devastating to lose it.”
The Littler family own the airfield. On Friday Gladman Developments submitted a proposal to Stratford District Council on the last day of consultation for its Core Strategy – a guide which will be used to steer development in the area until 2031.
Michael Littler, who manages the airfield on behalf of the family, confirmed the landowners were looking to dispose of the site.
Cllr Chris Saint, Leader of Stratford District Council says: “We are aware of new sites that have come forward as part of this consultation process that will be considered by the Planning Policy team. However in the meantime we will push ahead with our published timetable.”
The council said any new site would have to be so demonstrably better than anything else previously considered but that it would be unreasonable to ignore Wellesbourne Airfield, despite its belated submission.
Gladman declined to comment.