Council urged to expand Panshanger housing plans or shrink them for airfield

PUBLISHED: 12:08 28 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:09 28 June 2018

Panshanger Aerodrome from the air. Picture: Peter Sterling.

Panshanger Aerodrome from the air. Picture: Peter Sterling.

Archant

The planning inspector assessing the area’s Local Plan has urged Welwyn Hatfield Council to look into potentially expanding the Panshanger airfield site.

Doubt has been cast over the future of having a runway at the Welwyn Garden City patch as experts have said the dedicated area to the north is too small.

Inspector Melvyn Middleton said it leaves the council two options: reduce the housing figure to accommodate an airfield, or utilise the northern section for more housing.

“We are left with the consideration of whether the site is reduced to accommodate an airfield, or it isn’t, and that’s the council’s decision, not mine,” he said at yesterday’s (June 27) Local Plan hearing.

“Given the shortage of land for housing, if the site is not going to be used as an airfield you have to question what do you do with a site that’s been left for an airfield but isn’t big enough.”

Welwyn Hatfield Council representatives told the inspector that the northern section of the site has been looked into as part of the Green Belt review.

Bryce Tudball, a principle planner for WHC, added: “There is potential to expand the site, but for the moment to allow the opportunity for a runway the [Green Belt] boundary is where it’s been positioned.”

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