£13,000 bill for Panshanger Aerodrome historical survey

Dean McBride is pictured outside one of the WWII buildings at Panshanger Aerodrome which he wants pr

Dean McBride is pictured outside one of the WWII buildings at Panshanger Aerodrome which he wants preserved - Credit: Archant

A HISTORIC assessment of development-threatened Panshanger Aerodrome will cost more than £13,000, Welwyn Hatfield Council has revealed.

Despite the outlay of £13,166 for assessors Atkins Heritage, the authority said it was “too early” to say whether the firm’s findings would impact on housing policy.

A housing blueprint has suggested up to 700 homes could be built on the site.

A council spokeswoman said: “It is too early to say at this stage, as this depends on their findings and recommendations, but they will form part of our evidence base.”

The revelation came after campaigner Dean McBride lobbied the King of the Netherlands, whose grandfather served at Panshanger in World War Two.

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Another letter has emerged linking the aerodrome to World War One.

Mr McBride, who is the head of campaign group Holwell Hyde Heritage, has argued for the site to be given historical recognition and protection from development.

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He believes the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the precursor to the RAF, may have had a base at Panshanger Aerodrome during the 1914 to 1918 conflict, and could have had a role in the famous downing of German airship SL-11 in 1916.

He said: “I know an RFC pilot shot down a Zeppelin over Cuffley in WWI. It would be nice to know once and for all if and where this base was, and if it was in the general location of Panshanger Aerodrome.”

Mr McBride sent the WHT a demobilization certificate given to William Goodson, who served in Herfordshire from 1915 to 1919, which alludes to a Great War connection.

A letter from Mr Goodson’s son David, of Cherry Croft, WGC, said: “My grandfather came home from the South African [Boer] War, then in 1915 he rejoined the Army and was sent to Panshanger Aerodrome as a guard.

“As far as I know, he stayed there until the First World War finished.”

Last month the WHT revealed Mr McBride had written to King Willem-Alexander calling for support for the campaign, as the monarch’s grandfather had served at the aerodrome during World War Two. But he was told the king was unable to attend the Panshanger Revival Day on August 11.

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