Wellesbourne Airfield owners say invitation for flight school is proof of their commitment to preserve flying - The Leamington Observer

Wellesbourne Airfield owners say invitation for flight school is proof of their commitment to preserve flying

Catherine Thompson 11th Dec, 2019 Updated: 12th Dec, 2019   0

OWNERS of Wellesbourne Airfield say they are committed to maintain flying at the site after inviting back a former flight school tenant.

Aeros Aviation quit the site nearly two years ago after it claimed landlord Littler Investments – which was locked in a legal battle after refusing tenants lease extensions – was purposely neglecting the airfield with a view to selling the land to developers.

The complaints particularly referred to the runways and taxiways the school believed were purposely being run down as well as some buildings.

The branch relocated to Coventry Airport at Baginton. Others have since followed amid the ongoing legal battle eventually lost by the tenants which now include South Warwickshire Flying School, Take Flight Aviation, Touchdown Café and Take Flight Aviation.

A further appeal against the decision was also lost and the remaining tenants faced eviction.

But a so-called ‘memorandum of understanding’ was drawn up between Littler Investments and Stratford District Council – which has been exploring a compulsory purchase to preserve the site as an airfield – which included an offer of 12 month lease extensions to some of the tenants.

Take Flight Aviation which led the legal battle was not invited to extend its lease and has argued the agreement – which the owner can pull out of with 28 days notice – did not secure the future of the aviation site.

But the landowners argued the recent invitation to Aeros confirmed their commitment to maintain aviation at the site.

A statement from Littler Investments Limited (LIL) said: “Following the recent memorandum of understanding between Littler Investments and Stratford District Council, LIL would like to welcome Aeros Aviation Limited back to Wellesbourne Airfield. Aeros have previously operated from Wellesbourne. This development demonstrates LIL’s commitment to the memorandum of understanding and shows their willingness to work with the council whilst options for the site are discussed.

“We look forward to seeing Aeros back on site from the 1st January 2020 along with the other official tenants and users with whom LIL have agreed terms. Aeros offer Commercial/Private flight training as well as other flying club facilities.

“As landowners, we have a legitimate right to determine what happens on our own land, as well as deciding who is permitted to occupy and use it.

“We are exploring the various options open to us at present, and will make further announcements at the appropriate time.

“Whilst constructive discussions with SDC take place, then, under the memorandum of understanding, we will honour our commitment to maintain flying from the airfield. Our actions in entering into the tenancy with Aeros, confirm that commitment.”

Following the agreement Aeros chairman Tom Dunne has high hopes for a long future at Wellesbourne.

He said: “Wellesbourne is our spiritual home. We have always been happy there.

“We have been assured the owners are going to honour the agreement they have with the council. Differences have been sorted and we’re taking them at their word.

“For now it’s 12 months but we have been assured once the memorandum has been sorted we’ll have a 15 year lease. If they don’t then fine we’ll move on.”

Talking about the accusations over the dilapidated site Mr Dunn added: “We have always wanted to build a modern building on Wellesbourne and we have had assurances that Wellesbourne is there long term and there will be new buildings, a runway and taxiway.

“It’s got to a point where now hopefully it will go on and we can reestablish Wellesbourne to its former splendour.”

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