The threat of closure of Coventry Airport has highlighted the unresolved situation at nearby Wellesbourne Airfield where the airfield owners are negotiating partial development of the site with Stratford District Council.
Councillors at Stratford DC recently discussed the current position on the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of the site, which aims to preserve general aviation. The meeting was held on Zoom and contains a scene where a councillor refused to answer a point made by a former tenant of the airfield, Mike Roberts of Take Flight Aviation.
SDC has reserved £1m in its 2021 budget to start CPO proceedings should discussions with the airfield owners, the Littler family, fail.
It’s also been revealed that the Department for Transport is taking an active role with preservation of General Aviation at Wellesbourne Airfield in its GA policy.
SDC leader Tony Jefferson said, “The actions of the council to date have ensured that aviation has continued at Wellesbourne. Continuing negotiations, whilst maintaining Compulsory Purchase Order options has given us the best chance of achieving the desired outcome in this matter.”
Cllr Jefferson also revealed the government’s Department for Transport had shown a keen interest in the future of the airfield.
According to the local paper, the Stratford Herald, he said, “They see Wellesbourne as a key part of the secondary airfield network and are working with us to secure its long term future.
“Under the MoU, we paused the CPO process whilst constructive negotiations were ongoing, providing that aviation was continuing.
“To date this has been the case and we are actively engaging with the owners and their agents to find a mutually acceptable solution for the long term future of the site. However, if it is not possible to agree a solution it will be necessary to progress with CPO proceedings.”
Tenants at the airfield have been in discussion with their landlords who, one aviation business owner told us, “have clearly stated that the past has been shelved and we move forward with the same objectives to retain, maintain and enhance the flying functions at Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome. All very welcome news it would seem for the resident tenant operators and home based aeroplane owners.”
The tenants have signed Non-Disclosure Agreements so cannot reveal what the landlords are proposing.
In 2016, the airfield owners worked with developers Gladman on a master plan for a whole new village on the site, called Wellesbourne West. However SDC said it did not fit in its Local Plan.