Campaign Week 9: Businesses confident of a legal victory

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Airfield business leaders at the press conference this week

“We’re not stopping flying here” was the message from organisations at Wellesbourne Airfield this week, in a battle cry aimed at those planning to develop the site into housing.

During a meeting on Tuesday, members of Wellesbourne Matters, the group leading the legal challenge to the redevelopment plan, reiterated their confidence in beating the proposal.

Airfield owners, the Littler Family, have previously expressed their desire to sell the site to a housing developer and in 2014 Gladman Developments put forward a plan to build up to 1,500 houses on the Airfield.

Duncan MacKillop, chairman of Wellesbourne Matters, explained that he was confident that the local authority would reiterate its view in the core strategy that Long Marston Airfield and not Wellebourne Airfield, was its preferred site for housing.

He said the group’s approach, based on legal arguments, rather than emotional ones, was proving successful and said the evidence against developing the site into housing was huge.

Mr MacKillop said: “Gladman are specialists in getting planning permission for contentious sites. We have the support of the local authority and we confidently expect to still be flying from Wellesbourne in 20 years’ time. At the moment everything is going our way, but that doesn’t mean the developer won’t try to do something out of leftfield.”

Sean Brown, managing director of Heli Air and chair of the meeting, said the letters issued late last year telling businesses that flying activities at the airfield would cease after December 24th, were untrue and a scare tactic.

Mr Brown said: “They have a very weak case, we are lucky that we have got a specialist firm working for us that has experience of these kind of battles to preserve active airfields. Radarmoor has been told to leave the airfield at the end of the year and the airfield licence will not be renewed, but we have 15 year leases, after December 24th, those leases will simply revert to the Littlers as opposed to Radarmoor and as tenants we are entitled to have an operating airfield. We are in a strong position because we know our legal rights.”

“All the developers have really done at this stage is scare tactics and bullying, the businesses have not been served with eviction notices. On December 25th if Radarmoor no longer ceases to exist, we will continue running as an unlicensed airfield. Far from being a dying airfield, Wellesbourne is a thriving, active place and it is not a foregone conclusion that the developers are going to get their way.

“Flying is not just a pursuit of the rich, there are all sorts of people who come here, eat in the café or take one of the 5,000 pleasure flights we provide each year.”

Mr Brown criticised other businesses within the aviation industry who he said had touted their services to airfield users and had suggested the closure of the airfield was inevitable.

Frankie Stuart, who works in the tower at Wellesbourne Airfield, added: “We want to be an example to other airfields across the country that it can be done, you can beat these threats, you just need to go down the legal route. It’s not impossible. I should say that Mike Littler is an amazing airfield manager, he is an engineer by trade and has such an enthusiasm for aviation and supports everyone on the airfield. He is stuck in the middle of all this, but he does run a great airfield.”

 

  • Roger Pickles

    I will be glad to see the back of this airfield. The amount of noise generated by unsilenced engines is totally unacceptable, and pig ignorant pilots flying too low over residential areas cause real hardship. These retards seem to think they have a god-given right to exist. I say good riddance and never blight Wellesbourne and the local areas ever again.

    • Jon

      Clearly shows what type of person you are by calling fellow human beings ‘retards’.
      If it such an issue for you, the airfield has been there for quite some time afraid. You chose to live nearby. Please do try and get footage of low flying. Your words simply aren’t justifiable as you have such a vendetta against something that brings so much to Stratford and the surrounding area’s.

      • Eddie Strong

        The only thing the airfield ‘brings’ to the area is constant noise and nuisance, that the silent majority within a c4 mile radius of the place have had to put up with for decades…and like Roger I am pleased it is finally closing down. He is wrong to use disparaging terms, but essentially his main thrust is correct.

        • Roger Pickles

          Perhaps my tone was too strong, but many pilots are ignorant of their obligation not to fly over Wellesbourne, but our messages are both correct. WA has brought nothing but noise and nuisance to Wellesbourne and the surrounding areas. It does not contribute as people simply fly in and out bringing little economic benefit as exemplified by businesses closing down in Well. If housing was developed, the customer base would expand considerably. I say good riddance to the airfield.

          • BobCBob

            good point on the economic benefit.

        • VladTheLibrarian

          “constant noise and nuisance”… Really?? The occasional light aircraft and helicopter…?? You do keep a log, don’t you. And you will be happy to publish it here, won’t you… It’ll be intersting to compare it with Wellesbourne’s movement log…

      • VladTheLibrarian

        Jon – I think you may be wasting your breath. The type if NIMBYs we have here live in a world where only their view is important…. Discussion of the issues, compromise or simply listening to another point of view is beyond them. Pickles calls pilots ‘pig-ignorant’ – he needs to look in the mirror…

    • VladTheLibrarian

      Your abusive and ignorant post says far more about you than you can ever say about Wellesbourne and its users….

  • BobCBob

    ooh, hand bags at the ready!!!! lol