DRAMATIC and urgent action has been taken by Stratford-on-Avon District Council to prevent the demolition of buildings at Wellesbourne Airfield.
Today (Monday) the council’s ruling cabinet agreed to remove permitted development rights from the site owners, the Littler family. The decision took immediate effect and is now in force.
The cabinet also decided to seek powers to compulsorily purchase the airfield if negotiations with the owners fail and to obtain an injunction if any attempt is made to start the demolition process.
The moves by the cabinet were made under urgent business at a special meeting that had been arranged to discuss another issue.
Shock plans to begin demolishing the site were revealed by the family two weeks ago. The news – which would involve all the businesses there closing down with more than 200 jobs being lost – prompted urgent discussions between the tenants and leading figures at the district council.
The Littler family and developers Gladman are believed to be furious that their proposals to close down the airfield and build 1,500 homes on the land has been repeatedly rejected at every level – including that of the planning inspectorate.
Given that the airfield has been refused classification as a development site in the council’s core strategy, there is deep concern that the owners now want to render the site unusable for aviation purposes by wrecking it.
Just over a week ago Cllr Chris Saint (Cons, Shipston North), the leader of the council, wrote to Business Secretary Greg Clark and Small Businesses Minister Margot James, asking the government to intervene to help save the airfield. At the beginning of this week he was awaiting a reply.
It’s thought the airfield could be sold for £5.5 million. But its development value could be more than £100 million.
For a full report and reaction see this week’s Herald.