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5th Jul, 2022

Wellesbourne airfield businesses will not have leases renewed rules judge

Catherine Thompson 26th Jun, 2018 Updated: 28th Jun, 2018

BUSINESSES at Wellesbourne Airfield will not be able to renew their leases.

They had taken their fight to court after airfield owners the Littler family said the seven businesses would not be able to renew their existing leases.

And yesterday a judge ruled in favour of the owners.

The owners put forward proposals in 2016 to build 1,500 homes on the site – but the plans were rejected by Stratford District Council.

But following the ruling, the judge said the owners had a ‘reasonable prospect’ of gaining planning permission to demolish the buildings occupied by the businesses which operate at the airfield, including aviation schools, a museum and a café.

Legal and expert fees have cost the businesses some £250,000 and it is feared some could fold.

But others hope they have a future after Stratford District Council suggested in the event of such a ruling, it would make a compulsory purchase order – allowing the businesses to continue.

Spokesperson for Wellesbourne Market Gary Platt has confirmed the market, which has been operating on weekends and bank holidays at the airfield for more than 40 years, will not be affected.

Chairman of Wellesbourne Matters campaign group Duncan MacKillop said: “It is very regrettable that the Wellesbourne based businesses have had their application for tenancies turned down by the court. It is our view however that this does not represent the end of the process that has been running for several years now, but is just another obstacle to be overcome.

“We are now in the process of exploring the various options that are open to us, but this will take some time before we have any definitive answers or plans.”

The ongoing dispute has seen popular annual events cancelled and claims of site neglect gave rise to the departure of flying club Aeros Wellesbourne in February.

The airfield’s history stretches back to 1941 when the government bought 200 acres of farmland. 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.

The Observer has not yet been able to speak to the Littler family or the market operators.

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