Old Sarum (near Salisbury) is one of the oldest airfields in the country, and has a long and happy history of private and club flying. But, as with so many airfields in the country, its future is under threat.
The latest round in its fight for survival comes up over the next few weeks as various panels and committees of the Salisbury District Council discuss the Conservation Area Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal for the airfield.
The meetings will take into account responses to a document issued earlier this year: the <a href=’http://www.salisbury.gov.uk/old-sarum-airfield-appraisal.pdf’ target=’_blank’>independent assessment</a>. The Southern Area Committee and the City Area Committee, along with the Planning and Economic Development Overview and Scrutiny Panel, will pass on their findings and recommendations to the Cabinet, which meets at the end of January next year, and which will “make the final decision over whether to designate the airfield as a conservation area.”
The committee and panel meetings allow public participation, as outlined in the letter sent to those who responded to the initial Consultation (read the letter <a href=’http://forums.flyer.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=25898#380698′ target=’_blank’>here</a>).
There’s a history to this: the airfield had been previously been designated a conservation area (2001), but this designation was removed after a High Court appeal revealed there had been procedural errors. Read more on the Salisbury Council website (<a href=’http://www.salisbury.gov.uk/planning/conservation/old-sarum-airfield.htm’ target=’_blank’>here</a>).
The council has always, in general, been seen as being in favour of keeping the airfield running. As a second report (this one on the <a href=’http://www.salisbury.gov.uk/old-sarum-airfield-sa-report.pdf’ target=’_blank’>sustainability of the airfield</a>) says: “The designation of a conservation area at Old Sarum Airfield has been demonstrated to be the most effective way to ensure a sustainable future for the site. It is therefore recommended that a conservation area be designated along with a management plan, following the short, medium and long term interests of the site, the people of Salisbury district and their visitors.”