Arguments against re-development of North Weald Airfield for housing


·  The planned development would mean the loss of an important, historic and unique facility for aviation and leisure users in this part of the country.


·  North Weald Airfield has immense historical value, having been established in 1916 to defend London against attack from the air, and served as a front line fighter station during the Battle of Britain and beyond.  The airfield remains largely unchanged since the 1940’s and should serve as a lasting memorial to over 200 people who gave their lives while serving there, along with many thousands of others who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving at other airfields in the South East, which have long since disappeared under housing developments.


·  It would change the character of North Weald Bassett for existing residents beyond recognition.


·  It would place a huge burden on the local infrastructure, despite some of the additional road and transport links planned. 


·  It would also mean the loss of an important breathing space between the village and the M11.


·  The huge increase in infrastructure required to support the planned housing development would have an immense impact on the local environment.


·  There is no other airfield in the region with such facilities and length of hard runway in the region available to General Aviation users.


·  The development is against the principles of Planning Policy Guidance No 13 (PPG 13), which limits development in and around existing aerodromes, which would be in conflict with existing operations at these airfields.


·  The part of the airfield, which is earmarked for housing, is Green Belt Land. Plans to re-designate it into Brownfield land is contradictory to recommendations PPG 3 Annex C Para 2. This document clearly outlines which curtilage which may be re-designated. To quote:

·  "..this does not mean that the whole area of the curtilage should therefore be redeveloped. For example, where the footprint of a building only occupies a proportion of a site of which the remainder is open land (such as at an airfield or a hospital) the whole site should not normally be developed to the boundary of the curtilage." 


·  Apart from its expanded use for many leisure activities, the airfield could also be further developed as an important transport facility for light aviation, both for leisure and business travel by air, if managed and developed for this purpose in the correct manner.


·  Light general aviation has been all but squeezed out of the major airports in the region and due to other airfield closures, existing business airports cannot cope with the demand.   North Weald, however has the potential for investment to provide much needed GA and Business Aviation facilities.


·  A major housing development as envisaged for North Weald Airfield could also take place spread over a number of smaller sites in the region, with less impact on existing communities and without the loss of such a valuable facility.  There is no shortage of low use, idle land available, even if not all of it is in the public domain.  The planners should consider more options making use of such land.



NWAUG suggests that you re-write the above arguments in your own words, as “carbon-copy” responses may have less impact.  Of course you should add any further arguments and points of your own (we would be pleased to hear them), and you don’t have to use all the above if you disagree with any of them.


North Weald Airfield Users Group – January 2004