Homes plan for airfield is still on the agenda

Core Strategy fails to deter Wellesbourne developer Gladman

Wellesbourne Airfield.

A MAJOR housing developer still appears to be eyeing Wellesbourne Airfield despite Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s recently adopted Core Strategy document seeming to close the door on such a plan.

Gladman Homes have refused to confirm to the Herald whether they will continue to pursue the airfield as a housing site following the adoption of Stratford District Council’s Core Strategy document in July — but recently submitted a number of comments during the neighbourhood plan consultation phase, suggesting that they are still intent on building on the site.

The Core Strategy, which outlines the type and location of future development throughout the district until 2029, stipulates that Wellesbourne should remain an active airfield.

The Walton and Wellesbourne Way Neighbourhood Plan, which could be formally adopted next spring, reiterates the district council’s view on retaining the airfield. Both would pose a significant obstacle to Gladman’s plans to build up to 1,500 homes at the site. Gladman’s comments show they clearly disagree with the neighbourhood plan’s assessment of the airfield site and its reasons for retaining the facility.

Within Gladman’s comments, the company questions whether parts of the former Second World War airfield can be considered heritage assets and suggests that attractions such as the Vulcan Bomber could be relocated elsewhere.

Gladman also say that the alternative sites put forward for potential future housing development would be unlikely to make any substantial contribution in helping the district council deliver additional housing if it is needed.

The company argues that the neighbourhood plan should not unduly act to prevent future development of the site as it would hamper a sustainable opportunity for future growth, and that what is describes as the regeneration of Wellesbourne Airfield will bring substantial benefits to the local economy.

Despite Gladman’s comments the Walton and Wellesbourne Way, the group which has created the draft neighbourhood plan, says it does not intend to make any alterations following suggestions by the company.

John Hargis, chairman of the Walton and Wellesbourne Way, said: “As part of the recent consultation on the draft Wellesbourne and Walton Neighbourhood Plan, almost 100 replies were received from a combination of local residents, businesses, developers, landowners and statutory authorities on how they believed the report could be modified.

“The submission from Gladman focused on the assumption that the owners of Wellesbourne Airfield would not be applying for a renewal of the licence to continue flying at the airfield from the end of 2016 in which case, the land could become available for development of about 1,500 houses.

“The Neighbourhood Plan team considered the views expressed by Gladman and have decided to propose no change to the current position stated in the report which opposes any housing development on the airfield in the expectation that the flying function, along with associated businesses at the airfield, will be safeguarded.

“This is the position taken by the Parish Council in earlier discussions and by the District Council within the recently completed Core Strategy. It is also the position strongly advocated by the campaign group Wellesbourne Matters.

The Neighbourhood Plan report remains as a draft at present and will be subject to review by both the Parish and District Council for acceptance of any amendments prior further progression.”

The public consultation into the Walton and Wellesbourne Neighbourhood Plan has now ended and has been submitted to the inspector at Stratford District Council.

The neighbourhood plan could be adopted following a referendum in the first quarter of 2017.

  • BobCBob

    glad to hear this! you could even say i’m a very Glad Man!!

  • Roger Pickles

    I think this is good news and something the Littler family must want. I would be irritated that people are trying to block the sale of their land. Redeveloping it would bring huge economic benefits and dramatically improve the socio-demographic quality of Wellesbourne. As for the Wellesbourne Matters people, who cares what a bunch of NIMBYs think. They’re only jealous that they will never earn the wealth the Littler family can. I say move on, re-develop the airfield and get some intelligent and monied people into the area.

    • ELHD

      By “intelligent and monied people”, you basically mean Jaguar Land Rover contractors. There’s no “jealousy” here – just an intelligent and monied individual who doesn’t want to see thousands more homes built when our villages’ infrastructure can’t even cope with the number of people already here. How anyone other than the developers can think this is a good idea is beyond me.

      • milo

        It worries me that people don’t want homes being built when the POPULATION is rising. its better than the other option that somebody tried in the 30’s/40’s.
        Growth is inevitable why not just embrace it and concentrate on bettering yourself and the people around you.

        • old_moaning

          We moved to Wellesbourne in the late 80’s onto one of the new housing estates. Its disgusting that we have to endure the noise from having light aircraft and helicopters from the training school making noise over our house. Far better that it is changed from being an airfield into a housing estate.

          • ELHD

            That airfield has been there a hell of a lot longer than you have. If you had done your research when you bought your house in the first place, you would have known that it was an active airfield, and you should have expected to contend with the very occasional light aircraft or helicopter flying overhead. May I suggest that if it offends you so much, you move to somewhere that doesn’t have an active airfield so you can enjoy your serene tranquility and quiet.

          • old_moaning

            Our solicitor unfortunately did not point out to us that there was an
            active airfield nearby until after we had exchanged contracts. It was
            extremely disappointing since we had moved up here from Myrtle Avenue in Hounslow

          • ELHD

            In which case I struggle to see how you can find it “disgusting” then. Not sure about you, but it makes sense to explore somewhere before you buy a house. It really wouldn’t have taken much to discover an airfield in the village, even in the pre-Internet age. Your complaint is akin to me buying a house and hearing a nearby churches bells ringing and expecting it to be knocked down and replaced with a mobile Internet mast.

          • old_moaning

            Good point about the Church Bells and I’m pleased you raised it. Can anything be done about stopping that awful noise emanating from St Peters in Wellesbourne on a Thursday night. It goes on until beyond 9.00pm . Whilst I reluctantly accept these people with this fixation on bell ringing need to practice 9.00pm is far too late in my opinion

          • milo

            Its the same at Holy Trinity those Damn Church Bells!!!

          • Netty

            what a shame you moved into a nice village with history and a very valued Airfield ,you would moan if you couldn’t fly to your sunny holiday , hence the training of pilots at Wellsbourne ,

        • ELHD

          Homes being built isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as the infrastructure to cater for the growth exists and grows. That isn’t the case in Wellesbourne. There are for more and better areas designed to cope with thousands of new families than Wellesbourne is.

    • VladTheLibrarian

      “dramatically improve the socio-demographic quality of Wellesbourne” Lol… That’s one of the most pompous comments I’ve seen here… Who the hell are you to social engineer the neighbourhood to suit you taste. “They’re only jealous that they will never earn the wealth the Littler family can” Strangely, one or two are far wealthier than the Littlers will ever be…

    • bungy

      your moving out then?

  • Netty

    The fight to save the Airfield is still on and I welcome the fact that the developers don’t always get their way, All the village ,council ,visitors and businesses are not backing down from this battle. This Historical and very important Airfield will go on and be part of our history yet to come…