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Airfield's future more secure.

Byline: ENDA MULLEN News Reporter

THE future of Wellesbourne Airfield, it's popular Saturday market and the businesses based there looks more secure after Stratford-on-Avon District Council firmed up its commitment to safeguarding the site.

The council's cabinet confirmed an earlier decision made in December, when it removed permitted development rights which would have allowed the owners to demolish buildings at the airfield.

Littler Investments has previously wanted to see the site developed for housing while the council has pledged to protect the businesses there, which employ 200 people, and to retain Wellesbourne as an airfield.

The latest move follows a period of consultation which closed at the end of January.

Councillor Chris Saint, leader of the council said: "The airfield is an important employment and recreation site within the district.

"The council's adopted core strat-egy is very much in support of this and the unanimous decision by the cabinet greatly endorses this.

"The district council took this original course of action to safeguard the future of this important asset given the eviction notices that had been served on current tenants of the site and the application submitted to the council's building control service to demolish a number of buildings on the site."

In December last year the owners of Wellesbourne Airfield said they were "surprised" at the district's council's dramatic intervention to halt demolition works there - and the interest it expressed in buying the site.

The airfield and its future has been the subject of a long-running dispute between the airfield's owners, the Littler family, the council and aviation businesses based there, including South Warwickshire Flying School. The airfield had been facing the prospect of closure after Littler Investments won approval to demolish a number of buildings on the site.

But the council intervened and also decided it would to enter negotiations with the owners to purchase the airfield and, if this was not an option, to look at the prospect of a compulsory purchase. Businesses thought they had won their battle to stay earlier in 2016 when the site was ruled out for inclusion in the council's long-term core strategy for housing development but their battle continued. In December 2016 Littler Investments also questioned whether the council should be trying to buy the airfield using public money but pledged to keep the airfield open while the dispute continued.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 23, 2017
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