Old Sarum Airfield Closes

Posted on November 1, 2019

A World War One airfield has closed three months after plans to build 470 homes on the site were rejected.
Old Sarum Airfield, in Wiltshire, was still in use after being built in 1917 as a training station during the war.
The airfield’s manager Grenville Hodge said he was “incredibly disappointed”, but said the site had to be closed to “stop the losses”.
A planning inspector upheld a council decision in July not to allow homes to be built on the protected site.
Mr Hodge said plans by the airfield to regenerate the site were also blocked by local planners.
“What we can do is stop making the losses now. We are haemorrhaging funds,” he added.
He said the planned regeneration, which also included new buildings for aviation, would have helped maintain flying activity.
Mr Hodge added alternative plans for the site could now see it being used for agriculture.

The site which also housed a cafe, skydiving business and flying school, is a conservation area and the hangars are listed buildings.

Sarah Champion, from campaign group Save Old Sarum, said: “The airfield may well be mothballed, but I would always rather see a derelict airfield than a housing estate. It can always be resurrected.”

George Bacon of Historic Army Aircraft Flight Trust described it as “a terrible shame” and “a loss to Salisbury”. “To have an airfield like that so close to a city is gold dust,” he added.

Councillor for Laverstock, Ford and Old Sarum, Ian McLennan said it was “an extremely sad day after over 100 years of flying”.
“I hope that I can galvanise Wiltshire Council to step in and preserve and enhance this conservation area and continue flying.”
Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for planning at Wiltshire Council, said it would consider the planning inspector’s decision and encouraged people “to engage in this review”. He added that possibilities for “the maintenance of the listed buildings” would also be explored.

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