Airfield businesses fear for their future despite council move to buy land - The Stratford Observer

Airfield businesses fear for their future despite council move to buy land

Stratford Editorial 9th Jul, 2018   0

BUSINESSES at Wellesbourne Airfield still fear for their future despite a move by council chiefs to buy the site.

The seven current businesses based at the airfield have been locked in an ongoing legal battle with site owners the Littler family who have long wanted to sell the land to developers.

And after the businesses lost a bid to get their leases renewed Stratford District Council stepped in to begin a compulsory purchase order of the airfield.

But the businesses which include flying schools, a cafe and a museum, could still be under threat.

A crowdfunding page was created to raise enough funds to launch an appeal against the judge’s decision and has so far gained over £18,000 of its 100k target.

Touchdown Cafe owner Matthew Timms told the Observer if the appeal process went ahead it would buy the businesses some time, but if it did not they could still be turfed out once the leases were up in October.

And Mr Timms is pleading with Littler Investments Limited to sit down and have a ‘grown-up’ discussion to explore other options with their tenants.

He told The Observer: “We have been fighting for three-and-a-half years and at no point have the owners been willing to discuss options which could benefit all of us.

“It makes no sense to finish aviation on this site when there is no clear prospect of development.

“I can appreciate their position but they need to understand ours. Our jobs are on the line and it’s important we ignite conversation and have a frank discussion about the options available.

“Their brokered approach has hurt us all, they have just been going at us hard ever since this began and it’s been difficult.

“They have let the site go derelict as though they want to make it an eye sore and an unpleasant environment to be in.

“And although the CPO is a positive thing for general aviation, it doesn’t save us. We’re still on a knife edge.”

The council has written to the Littler family to notify them of its intention to purchase and protect the site as a working airfield.

Councillors have also requested businesses be granted temporary licences.

Littler Investments Limited had until Wednesday (July 11) to respond.

The Observer has been unable to contact Littler Investments for comment.

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