Stratford-on-Avon District Council begins Compulsory Purchase Order proceedings for Wellesbourne Airfield
The District Council has written to Mr M Littler one of the owners of the site to inform him of the District Council's intention to commence negotiations with Littler Investments Limited with a view to purchasing and protecting Wellesbourne Airfield as a working airfield.
This is the first stage of the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process to give Littler Investments Limited the opportunity to engage with the District Council, with a view to a voluntary sale of the site. They have until Wednesday 11 July to respond to this, following which if they do not engage with the District Council then CPO proceedings will commence.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council says: "Wellesbourne Airfield is an important facility within Stratford-on-Avon District. There is a clear policy position under the District Council's adopted Core Strategy 2011-2031 that the site be preserved for aviation purposes. The actions of Littler Investments Limited in terminating the leases of businesses operating on the site; wishing to demolish existing buildings on the site and the agreements with Gladman Developments Limited are all in direct opposition to this policy position. The District Council has now decided to use its Compulsory Purchase Order powers in order to maintain the current planning use of the site."
The District Council has also requested that the businesses on site be given temporary tenancies to preserve the livelihood of the 100 employees (44 full-time and 60 part-time).
Martin Robinson, CEO AOPA UK, says “AOPA is supportive of the CPO at Wellsbourne Airfield which will protect a vital part of the GA infrastructure as well as over 100 jobs locally. “
Owing to the strategic importance of the airfield from both aviation and economic perspectives, the District Council included policies within the Core Strategy, adopted by the District Council in July 2016, to retain this facility for the wider benefit of the District.
2. Retain and support the enhancement of the established flying functions and aviation related facilities at Wellesbourne Airfield
CS.26 General aviation activity within the District will be supported at the existing airfields of Snitterfield and Wellesbourne. Proposals for development associated with aviation activity requiring planning permission will be permitted within the established limits of an existing airfield subject to them not having an unacceptable effect on the environment of adjacent areas and on local residents and businesses.
The District Council's Cabinet resolved on 12 December 2016 to enter into negotiations with the owners of the site to agree the purchase of the site. In the event this was not achieved, The Cabinet also resolved to take steps to compulsorily purchase the airfield.