Wolverhampton trade-off: houses for airport refurb

Wolverhampton Airport, better known as Halfpenny Green, is to receive substantial investment into its facilities and refurbishment of its tired infrastructure – but the trade-off is building 112 new houses on a corner of the site to raise the money required.

A planning application has been made by Lilactame, part of MCR Property Group, who purchased the airport in 2015.

Lilactame says in its application that it is putting forward “An investment strategy that will enhance the physical infrastructure on the site and therefore bolster the current airport and its associated businesses.

“In order to achieve the capital investment a residential development of circa 112 dwellings is proposed within the existing developed area of the airport.

“This development will cross fund development of the mixed-use airport village which would incorporate all the improvements to airport infrastructure.”

The proposal includes:

  • Three new hangar buildings to create four hangar units
  • Repair and restoration of runway 28/10
  • Provision of new hardstanding for external plane and fuel tanker parking
  • Additional grassed informal plane parking
  • Demolition of up to seven existing single storey commercial/ retail buildings and the erection of new/ replacement commercial/ retail / community.

Details of the planning application can be viewed here and comments posted.

Wolverhampton Airport housing plan

There are already many comments on the application, from both pilots or operators based at the airfield and also from local residents. Most object.

The objections range from pilots pointing out that the airfield is a busy place with several thriving commercial helicopter operators making it a noisy place that won’t sit well with new residents, to locals highlighting the poor road network and lack of facilities in the area such as sewage and school places.

Wolverhampton Airport

Comments

  1. 1 An airfield needs alternative income/capital to survive – but private dwellings will result in complaints from residents about aircraft noise. Business units would be more suitable.
    2 Runway 28/10 needs resurfacing after the Vampire incident.

  2. I hope some decent lawyers are employed, to write sale contracts which ensure that nobody who subsequently buys, owns or lives in one of these houses can ever complain about aircraft noise. This must surely be possible?

  3. Perhaps they would do well to cover both residents and investments by building hanger homes. Flying communities do well in the US

  4. I approached the new management 3 years ago to build 20 of my hangar homes on the South-East corner of the airfield, but their disinterest leads me to conclude they are not really interested in retaining the airfield, otherwise they would have welcomed such a development, which would help to make it more sustainable as each unit would contribute to the airfield operation for airside access. I hope I am wrong, but unless they did include such hangar homes, which will help to safeguard the airfield, then the 112 houses could be the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ with the airfield eventually disappearing into a ‘Garden Village’.

  5. More secure investment for the airfield would be made to provide “air park” homes with a car garage and an airplane hangar attached to each home – all homes to be executive 3, 4, 5 bed homes and all with taxiway access to the main taxiway network. The proposed photo’s show a lake and lots of new trees – very close to the end of runway 34 which is the main runway! The trees and water will attract birds and wildlife which are a hazard to any aircraft using the airport. As has already been mentioned – once people live in the proposed home’s, the complaints about noise and fumes will start to raise objections to the airports operating hours, lawyers will overcome any contract which states “no complaints about noise” possibly raising questions about the health of young children breathing in the engine fumes whilst they sleep in their beds so close to the runway! Courts can be very fickle at times. The only way to avoid such litigation, is to build air park homes as they do in the USA and many other Countries – the buyers own and operate their aircraft directly from their homes. This reduces car travel to / from the airport (also reducing cost and pollution) but most importantly for the owner operator – it reduces the time to get to their aircraft. I doubt the vast amount of grass aircraft parking will ever be full! It would be better to re-design the whole airport layout. A good carpark close to the tower which also houses a nice café/restaurant would be advisable to bring in trade – who wants to walk a long way back to the car! plus its not exactly easy to find with all the current and proposed buildings, plus it means walking across a live taxiway! Anything NOT connected to aviation should not be built anywhere near an airport. Halfpenny Green has very poor (and slow) road connections and no nearby rail connection, but there are many houses within easy driving distance from where employees can be sourced to work at any Office or factory based on the Airport. A Hotel / Motel on the site may also be a good income earner – people could fly in (or drive in) and stay at the hotel as their base to explore the surrounding area. Bobbington (the nearest local village has much expanded since I stayed at Halfpenny Green Airfield for 5 weeks in 1975 doing my RAF Flying Scholarship. There is a nice Pub, Fish and Chip shop and lots of ‘new’ houses I saw on my 3rd return visit in 2017. The airfields in the UK must be protected and maintained for the future. Many have already been closed and built over. As the advent of all electric flight is upon us, with the invention of the new ‘glass battery’ which has 8-10x the capacity of the current li-ion battery’s, which will give both vehicles and aircraft ranges far inn excess of the current liquid fuels we use today, whilst also negating all fossil fuel pollution at point of use (the battery’s will need to be charged using electricity which has to be generated by some means), whilst also reducing noise pollution (fast spinning propellers still produce noise!). So I feel that aviation and especially General Aviation, world wide is about to meet its new Hay Day. Many small airports and airfields will be needed to take the best advantage of this. In Europe and the USA there are many of these small airfields near almost every town and village. The UK has removed so many small airfields built during World War II. There are very few sites available now suitable to build a new airfield upon, so we must keep the few we have left – or get left behind by the rest of Europe, and the world!

    1. I agree entirely Andrew, although trying to introduce hangar homes in the UK has so far taken me over 6 years and a huge amount of money, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel if I win my planning appeal for a small development at Lee-onSolent Airfield. Once I get one development of hangar homes under my belt, then it will make things much easier for other GA airfields. Checkout my website: http://www.hangarhomes.co.uk, and especially the article written in the heading ‘Press’.

  6. Already been in touch with a councillor from the South Stafford District Council , the reply I have received directly is that they would not support it Once you start sometime big like this ,you will not have a airfield.
    Halfpenny Green is unique because it is original and untouched for decades ,and it is in greenbelt
    This is a cop out by the owners ,just to raise funds , mainly this is due to the lockdown and current turnover is lower than normal , as general aviation has been hit hard nationally and worldwide
    There is also allot more underline factors to consider

  7. Majority of the people who would be affected by the above planning proposal, object to it and believe that if it went ahead it would ultimately spell the end of Halfpenny Green.

    Would any fliers that have visited the airfield or would like to voice an opinion on the plans, please click on the above link to the planning application and submit you own comments. Many thanks.

Leave a Reply

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

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.