Call for a new/old Hatfield Aerodrome to reopen

An ambitious plan has been put forward to reopen an airfield on the site of the former Hatfield Aerodrome where the de Havilland Aircraft Company used to be based.

Local resident and aviation enthusiast Colin Fitch has come up with the plan as an alternative to the now-closed Panshanger Airfield just a few miles north.

“I put in a planning application to reopen the original de Havilland Airfield in Ellenbrook Fields, Hatfield and build a community park around it,” says Colin in a Facebook post.

Colin Fitch
Hatfield local Colin Fitch has put up the plan to reopen the aerodrome

“I have secured promise notes to the sum of £15m to secure the land and to build a replica of the de Havilland Aerodrome as [it was] when Sir Geoffrey first came to Hatfield.

“We hope that this project will bring de Havilland aircraft owners to station their fine machines there and put Welhat [Welwyn and Hatfield] back on the aviation map.

“I have now given the council long enough to make up their minds and have asked the Secretary of State to intervene.”

The plan calls for a grass runway of 1,290m and access would be off Albatross Way. Facilities include two 20m x 15m hangars, a 30m bx 10m clubhouse, a 50-vehicle car park, and a community viewing and picnic area.

However, the idea faces considerable local opposition, not least because Ellenbrook Fields is now a 400-acre country park.

Hatfield Aerodrome 1948
By 1948 Hatfield Aerodrome had become a massive industrial base for the de Havilland Aircraft Company. Photo BAe Archives

de Havilland first established an aerodrome on the site in 1930 as a flying school. It had a grass landing strip, club house, five joined hangars and an ‘island’ containing an office building with fuel pumps.

Later the site was developed as de Havilland’s manufacturing base right through from pre-WWII biplanes to the twin-engine Mosquito and onto the jet age of the 1950s. More history here

Comments

  1. The land proposed for the airfield May be currently designated as a country park, but the local plan envisages building thousands of houses on it.

  2. You have the wrong end of the stick . Colin wants to preserve the country park , alongside the airfield . It is proposed to be dug up for gravel , then used for housing .

  3. I hope it works out and he can reopen it as an airfield it would be great somewhere else I can land at when I’m up we are fast running out of them

  4. As a former Hatfield resident I have always thought that the loss of BAE Hatfield and the aviation tradition it embodied was a disgrace.
    This is an excellent idea that should be grasped by both local and national government.

  5. Good on yer, we have lost too many of our aviation historical sites to big buck companies. They even want to build on Wellsbourne andwhat may we ask do we do with the VULCAN??.At least the local council want to keep the airfield as is.Most of the airfields I served on (RAF) have mostly bit the dust.

  6. Used to be at Oakland’s college, more or less on the end of the runway when 146’s were being tested. Big tragedy that such history is gone. Gravel pits then housing? Normally it’s gravel extraction, rubbish land fill then houses on top. Keep the park, re-instate the aerodrome and bring back DH heritage.

  7. If the dear Americans had developed the world’s first jet airliner, the site of its birthplace would be a Disney-like shrine attracting visitors from all over the world !!!! The advertising potential for airlines, holiday companies and associated businesses would be HUGE, not to mention a country being proud of its achievements….. Shame we’re not like that, even a little bit?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *