Wellesbourne one step closer to a secure future

Stratford Council have confirmed it is progressing with a planning application for a redeveloped runway and associated facilities at Wellesbourne (Mountford) Airfield (EGBW), confirming that surrounding areas will be earmarked for industrial development rather than housing.

This update comes In the form of a report titled ‘Wellesbourne Airfield update’, dated 6 February 2023, intended to “provide the Cabinet with an update on the progress of the ongoing work to secure the future of Wellesbourne Airfield”.

In March 2019, a Cabinet meeting set out its strategy to use Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers to “ensure the retention and enhancement of flying functions and aviation related facilities at Wellesbourne Airfield,” with an initial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) enacted to “ensure aviation activity at the airfield continued whilst negotiations took place”.

In August 2022, a second MoU – setting out a framework for the airfield’s redevelopment – was signed, to which end a number of “key milestones” have been achieved to date. These include “establishing the footprint for the new airfield and the land that can be released for employment-based redevelopment” and the appointment of Stoford, cited by the contractor as “one of the UK’s leading property developers specialising in occupier-led development and strategic land promotion,” as the delivery partner. Notably, there are no proposals to including housing as part of the redevelopment scheme.

As well as developing the surrounding land for industrial use, details of a single new runway have also been established. “Following expert advice,” this new Code 2 runway (classified as having a length between 800 and 1199m) will “serve the redeveloped airfield and update the associated flying circuits”. It is expected that Wellesbourne’s new runway will be at least 917m long.

Additionally, the University of Warwick – who are “also preparing proposals for the redevelopment of their Wellesborne Campus” – are in the process of exploring “opportunities to maximise synergies between the proposals”. As a result of “detailed dialogue with the landowners and the University of Warwick,” a proposal to develop a “significant employment opportunity site linked to the ongoing development at the nearby Wellesbourne Campus” could see the airfield host University research into areas such as Agri-Tech, automototive research and development, and drone technology.

The Cabinet report notes that despite “evidence of a willingness by the landowner to work closely with SDC to give life to this vision, it is too early to consider abandoning the CPO process which must still be kept as a live option”.

The council have appointed specialist CPO lawyers Burgess Sammon to advise them on the ongoing process, and a Planning Application for the redevelopment is expected to be submitted this summer.

Author: FTN Editor

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