In the Autumn of 2015, we sadly saw the Hangers and buildings, many of which dated back to WWII demolished at Panshanger as Mariposa try to influence the decision on the local plan. Mariposa claimed that the buildings were unsafe, even though they had allowed members of the flying club to use and wander around the same buildings until it was closed – two weeks after their surveyors had started surveying the unsafe buildings. The roosting bats and barn owls who used the hangers did not seem to prove a deterrent to the council issuing permission to demolish these structures. They were an iconic part of the airfield and Welwyn Garden City’s history and will be missed
The Second Local Plan consultation by the Welwyn Hatfield Council closed in March 2015 and they have processed the responses to this. There were a large number of responses to the parts of the plan relating to Panshanger, so thanks to everyone who contributed to this. It still remains to be seen if these comments will be taken on board by the council
Last year the Department for Transport published their report into the state of GA in this country. The report can be found here.
As part of this review it was clear that more had to be done to protect airfields and maintain a strategic network around the country. The Department for Communities and Local Government has written to all council planning officers saying “Aviation makes a significant contribution to economic growth across the country, including in relation to small and medium sized airports and airfields (aerodromes). An aerodrome will form part of a larger network. Local planning authorities should have regard to the extent to which an aerodrome contributes to connectivity outside the authority’s own boundaries, working together with other authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.” The GAAC, working with the DfT have created detailed planning recommendations which are being forwarded to planning authorities and they will also be a formal consultee on aerodromes with the authorities.
This article from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots magazine by Stephen Slater of the GAAC (Download here) summarises the developments
Welcome to Save Panshanger Airfield
The Closure and the next stage of the story
Mariposa Investments Limited, the owners of the Panshanger site have decided that they would not renew the lease to the North London Flying school ended on September 21st 2014. Following the sad demise in March of Dame Phyllis Somers - the widow of Nat Somers, the original owner of the site since 1953 - the trustees have decided to push for housing on the site.
Panshanger People with the support of the local and the aviation community will continue to campaign for its removal from the local plan and the reinstallation of an airfield here. The site is in an ideal location for a GA airfield with good transport links to North London and Hertfordshire and has remained buoyant throughout the recession. There are almost no airfields in the crowded South East which are not under planning pressures and if they disappear one by one, due to the short sighted action of local councils and the greed of land owners, GA in this country will die. Under more enlightened ownership and with visionary local planners, the airfield could support several small aviation related businesses as well as the flying school and provide additional transport options for local businesses. A significant asset to Welwyn Garden City.
We Need Your Money
We have commissioned work from Planning experts to help put our case to the local council and will certainly need more professional help in the future, all of which costs money. So please help us Save Panshanger for the future by donating to our funds on the Contact us page. The work we have already commissioned cost £9600 and that is just the start.
Local Plan consultation
Welwyn Hatfield Council will be holding a final consultation on the Draft Local Plan sometime in the summer of 2016 before it is submitted to the Government. This is the final chance to submit comments on the plans so please sign up to our members email list and we will alert you directly. We want to make sure every comment is relevant and tells the council exactly why they shouldn’t build houses on the airfield site. We also want to demonstrate that the site has a commercial future as a thriving airfield and is an economic and social asset for Welwyn Garden City.