THE OWNERS of Wellesbourne Airfield have revealed the legal battle led by evicted tenant Take Flight Aviation ruined their business relationship.
The flight school began a lengthy campaign against Littler Investment’s plans to sell the airfield to housing developers, resulting in a legal battle to have tenants’ leases extended at the site.
The fight and a further appeal was lost by the business tenants which also included South Warwickshire Flying School, Take Flight Aviation and Touchdown Cafe.
But negotiations continued between Littler Investments and Stratford District Council (SDC) – which is exploring a compulsory purchase of the site – over the future of the airfield which the owner wants to retain ‘alongside other uses’.
And a ‘memorandum of understanding’ was drawn up which included an offer of 12 month lease extensions to the businesses.
But Take Flight was not offered the extension and accused the owner of discriminating against the business for its role in the legal campaign.
The business has since attempted to stay at the airfield but was finally given an eviction date of February 28.
In response to the accusations a spokesperson for Littler Investments said the school was not invited to extend its lease because of the way the it ‘conducted legal proceedings’.
They told the Observer: “Littler Investments Limited (LIL) are pleased with the court’s recent decision against Take Flight Aviation and hope now to be able to focus on the aspects of the memorandum of understanding, and to working with SDC), for the airfield use to be retained alongside other uses.
“As a result of the manner in which the court proceedings were conducted by Take Flight Aviation, LIL decided that they no longer wanted to have a business relationship with Take Flight Aviation, a position that was made clear to both SDC and Take Flight Aviation prior to entering into the memorandum of understanding dated August 30 2019.
“Take Flight Aviation have had plenty of time to make arrangements to relocate their business, and have already received from LIL the benefit of the statutory compensation they are entitled to at the end of their tenancy.
“LIL are in the process of contacting all the independent aircraft owners who were aligned with Take Flight to offer them parking licences (along with all the other aircraft based on site) which shows the commitment LIL have made to SDC to retain the flying function on site.”
LIL also noted the return of Aeros Flying School which quit the site nearly two years ago after it claimed the landowner was purposely neglecting the airfield with a view to selling the land to developers.
Aeros was recently invited back in a move the landowner said was proof of its commitment to preserving aviation.
In an announcement over its upcoming departure Take Flight said as the airfield’s largest tenant, the landowner’s intentions were clear and hoped SDC would ‘acknowledge the detrimental harm the loss of the school would bring’.
It also said the school hoped to return one day ‘with reasonable landlords serious in promoting general aviation’ and hoped supporters would continue to lobby SDC.