End of the line in sight for Old Sarum?

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17 years 1 month

Posts: 114

Copied from the Salisbury Journal. I can just imagine all the new occupants saying, "Oh, I didn't realise there was an airfield there, its far too noisy". Followed by the Council closing it down because of noise complaints...... Ten years I reckon.

PLANS for a multi-million pound development at Old Sarum airfield have been unveiled involving hundreds of homes, visitor centres, a new restaurant and aircraft hangars.

The plans put forward by the airfield operators have been set out in a Conservation Management Plan and focus on concept drawings of the proposed development.

The airfield, one of three in England that has been in continuous use as a grass flying field since construction in World War I, is the only one of the three currently in civilian use and open to the public.

It also has three of the four original World War I hangars still standing, all of which are Grade II listed.

Under the plans, a housing development of around 470 homes is to be split into two sections: the first of around 320 houses at the western end of the buildings and then 150 houses on the south-eastern boundary of the airfield next to Ford, in front of Merrifield Road and Manor Farm Road.

Grenville Hodge, director of Old Sarum Airfield Ltd, the company which runs the historic airfield, said: “In terms of aviation heritage, we will protect and enhance it.

“We will renovate buildings and bring historic aircraft back and it will be open to the public – we will also build new aviation-related buildings.

“We want to regenerate the airfield back to vibrant aviation use.”

The airfield, which plans to maintain control of the project rather than selling it to a developer, hopes the 320-house development will have a marina feel where residents sit out on balconies and watch aircraft taking off and landing in addition to parachutists.

The second development is to have arts and crafts-style housing and, due to the lay of the land, will not be visible from airfield buildings.

New hangars in the shape of spitfire wings will be built in front of existing airfield buildings and will be sold to private individuals to house historic aircraft. A possible idea is also for a flat to be built inside each hangar for owners of the aircraft.

Additionally, there will be a new control tower, a visitor centre, a heritage centre, restaurants, a new clubroom for pilots and a new parachute centre.

The airfield hopes the area, which is close to the country park being designed as part of Hampton Park II, will encourage people to go walking and cycling, while also being somewhere visitors and residents can “enjoy a cup of tea and a glass of wine”.

As part of the plans, the line of the Roman road at the west end of the Portway will be reinstated.

Designed by the architects behind the Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Feilden+Mawson, the plans are set to be submitted to Wiltshire Council for planning approval at the turn of the year.

The Conservation Management Plan states: “Maintaining flying activity is one of the core objectives of the plan, but with controls on noise and night flying.”

Mr Hodge said: “We see this as one option, one which we’ve been working on for at least 17 years and is for the long term future of the whole site, not just a little bit of the airfield.

“The second option we could have chosen is to shut it down and the third option is to gradually increase flying to increase revenue to keep it open as a viable airfield. It will never become a commercial airfield but we could bring in much heavier aircraft.”

The plans, which are pinned to the walls of the airfield cafe, have caused concern among local residents.

Laverstock parish councillor Ron Champion said: “As everyone knows, the airfield is a conservation area and one of the main reasons why a conservation status was granted was the airfield perimeter which is intact and unique.

“The plans would destroy 65 percent of the perimeter – we think it’s totally wrong.

“The reason provided for house building on this scale is the sustainability of the airfield. However there is no business plan to show what income is required, or indeed how the airfield would have a long term future. The only costing that has been presented is a comparison repair figure for Hanger 3, showing similar hanger repairs costing between £750,000 and £1 million. In addition there is no plan to show how the noise from the airfield is to be managed.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said council officers are in discussions with the owners and their agents and there will be a public consultation at some point.

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Member for

17 years 1 month

Posts: 114

I was wrong; it only took 5 years.