Published on 9 February 2021
Stratford-on-Avon District Council's Cabinet received an update on the progress of the ongoing work to secure the future of aviation at Wellesbourne Airfield at its Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 9 February.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council commented: "The actions of the Council to date have ensured that aviation has continued at Wellesbourne. Continuing negotiations, whilst maintaining Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) options has given us the best chance of achieving the desired outcome in this matter."
Since March 2019, officers have been negotiating with the owners of the airfield to ensure the retention and enhancements of flying functions and aviation related facilities at Wellesbourne Airfield as part of the Council's Core Strategy policies.
As part of the negotiations, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was put in place between the Council and the owners of the airfield. This has ensured that aviation has continued at the site, whilst negotiations continue and all but one of the businesses operating from the airfield have been granted new tenancies.
Despite COVID-19 and allegations that the terms of the MoU have been breached, the MoU is serving its purpose as aviation is continuing at the site and to terminate the MoU would likely bring about an early demise of the airfield which would be against the public interest.
Alongside the MoU, negotiations have been ongoing with the owners of the airfield and their agents. These centre around the repositioning of the runway and aviation facilities to provide a more sustainable airfield whilst releasing parts of the site for development.
Cllr Jefferson continued: "The Department for Transport (DFT) has shown a keen interest in the future of Wellesbourne airfield; they see Wellesbourne as a key part of the secondary airfield network and are working with us to secure its long term future.
"Under the MoU we paused the CPO process whilst constructive negotiations were ongoing, providing that aviation was continuing. To date this has been the case and we are actively engaging with the owners and their agents to find a mutually acceptable solution for the long term future of the site. However, if it is not possible to agree a solution it will be necessary to progress with CPO proceedings."
A budget of £1M was set aside to fund the necessary CPO work, and is still being maintained to support further CPO proceedings should they be needed.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575