Campaign Week 1: Wellesbourne Matters

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Members of Wellesbourne Matters group.

WELLESBOURNE’S vibrant airfield community has long attracted visitors with an interest in aviation, providing a valuable boost to the local economy.

With the recent revelation that businesses have been told to vacate the site by the end of 2016, theHerald is highlighting the groups and organisations that make the airfield special.

This focus is on Wellesbourne Matters, a group fighting to preserve the site as an airfield in the wake of plans to develop it into housing.

WELLESBOURNE Matters was formed in 2014 after plans to build up to 1,500 houses on Wellesbourne Airfield first came to light.

The announcement about the airfield’s closure triggered a huge reaction, with more than 100 people turning up to a public meeting soon after the proposal became known.

Out of this situation Wellesbourne Matters was formed, taking specialist legal advice on what options were available to fight the plans.

Since its formation the group has swelled to a membership of more than 3,000, with people signing up from places as far away as Australia and Canada to show their support.

The group is committed to retaining and enhancing the airfield and to date has spent in excess of £30,000, raised through public donations, fighting to stop the facility being closed and developed into housing.

Bill Leary from Wellesbourne Matters said: “If this fight was an ice hockey game I would say we’re now going into the final third and we’re ahead, but there’s still all to play for. This final third is going to be the most difficult and most costly.

“We expected businesses to get these letters at some point so it has not come as a big surprise to us, we were prepared for it.”

Bill explained that there has been a surge in new members signing up to save the airfield since the recent eviction notices were issued to businesses. He said the group will be highlighting the airfield’s plight during events at the airfield this year such as Wellesbourne’s Wings and Wheels event in June.

Bill said he hoped the group would sign up even more members at the event. In anticipation of the fight ahead, Wellesbourne Matters has just launched its new upgraded website.

Dawn Reynolds, from solicitors Wright Hassall who are representing most of the businesses at the airfield, said: “We have received the notices and we are considering the legal position for each tenant.

“The legal process of fighting these notices could take several months and court proceedings could run longer than the 24th December if we decide to go down that route. “We are going to do all we can.”

  • To find out more about Wellesbourne Matters, become a member or donate to the group, visit www.wellesbournematters.com