ANGER is growing against proposals to build 1,500 homes on Wellesbourne Airfield.
Rumoured plans for the homes first emerged in March and were backed by the Littler family, which owns the airfield.
But although Stratford District Council is yet to receive a formal application from Cheshire-based Gladman Developments, the group has sought advice from planning officers.
And they held two public consultation events on Thursday December 8 and Saturday (December 13) at which residents of Wellesbourne and surrounding villagers voiced their anger and frustration.
Job losses, the economic impact on the airfield and local businesses, the size and scale of development and the potential increase in traffic are among residents’ biggest concerns if the application gets the go-ahead.
And the possibility of the airfield being sold has also raised questions over the long-term future of the popular weekly Wellesbourne Market – one of the largest outdoor markets in the country – which has been running for 40 years.
Frankie Stuart – who works at the airfield and heads up Wellesbourne Matters, the protest group against the plans – told The Observer public opposition was gathering pace.
She said: “There is a fight on our hands but we are passionate and ready for that fight. There is an overwhelming sense of public objection and the consultation has really helped focus things for a lot of residents – I don’t think Gladman expected there to be quite so much opposition.
“As far as we’re concerned it’s not going to happen and we are adamant Gladman are not going to get away with it.”
Wellesbourne district councillor David Johnston has also written an open letter to Kenilworth and Southam MP calling on him to intervene with the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The airfield is not included in Stratford’s Core Strategy – the key planning document, which will help guide development in the district until 2031.
And Stratford District Council leader Chris Saint has always vowed the authority would do everything in its power to protect it from development.
This included making last-minute modifications to the document before it was submitted to the government in a bid to keep the site for “aviation uses” as well as supporting future flying-related development.
The airfield’s history stretches back to early 1941 when the Government bought 200 acres of farmland and by the summer new runways had replaced crops, livestock and the farmhouse.
RAF Wellesbourne Mountford was a training centre for British and Commonwealth aircrews during the Second World War, turning out pilots, navigators, wireless operators and air gunners.
The RAF sold the airfield back to the Littler Family in 1965, since when it has been home to flying schools and other businesses.
Gladman Developments had not responded to our request for a comment at the time of going to press.