IT’S BUSINESS as usual at Wellesbourne Airfield.
So say businesses following the news airfield owners the Littler family have issued letters informing tenants they intend to develop the site.
Residents in Wellesbourne now fear more the airfield could be lost to rumoured plans for around 1,500 new homes – a move many believe will stretch already limited resources in the village.
Plans first emerged the airfield could be set for development in March 2014 but no planning requests have yet been submitted to Stratford District Council.
The airfield is not included in Stratford’s proposed Core Strategy for future housing development and the district council is now looking at ways to secure the future of the airfield and the businesses based there – which include flying schools, an aircraft maintenance business, and a cafe. The airfield also plays host to the popular Wellesbourne Market.
Wellesbourne Matters – the village campaign group fighting to save the airfield from developers – said: “The letters received by businesses on the airfield were just part of the process the landlords have to go through – they aren’t eviction notices. And we were not surprised to find out they had arrived.
“For us as a campaign group it is business as normal. We will continue to protect and support the airfield and the businesses it houses.
“We want to save it from development and that is what we will carry on fighting for.”
It is also business as usual for South Warwickshire Flying School which has been training pilots at the airfield since 1982.
Managing Director Rodney Galiffe said: “We know the landowners are just going through the proper process by sending out the letter to let us know they intend to develop the site. The flying school will carry on as normal for as long as possible.”
The Platt Group – which runs the weekly Wellesbourne Market which has been operating at the airfield for more than 40 years – have reassured stallholders the market was not going anywhere soon.
In a letter to traders, Gary Platt wrote: “As you maybe aware by now notices have been served on the tenants using the airfield. The market has had no such notice.
“Once the planning proposal is submitted, we will have more of an idea of what sort of development they wish to achieve on the airfield.
“For the time being its still seems a quite few years away from any changes.”
The airfield’s history stretches back to 1941 when the Government bought 200 acres of farmland. RAF Wellesbourne Mountford was a training centre for British and Commonwealth aircrews during the Second World War, turning out pilots, navigators, wireless operators and air gunners.
The RAF sold the airfield back to the Littler Family in 1965.