Protestors’ history hopes for threatened WW2 aerodrome quashed

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 October 2013

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

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

Archant

Protestors’ pleas to protect a Welwyn Garden City WW2 airfield from development have been cast aside by officials.

Panshanger Aerodrome’s historical importance was examined by an independent surveyor after lobbying from residents who object to plans to build up to 700 homes on it.

The site was used as a temporary decoy factory during WW2 to lure Nazi bombers away from the crucial de Havilland factory, in Hatfield.

But the Atkins Heritage report advised Welwyn Hatfield Council the facility had fragmented and key buildings had been demolished.

Meaning the site as a whole can not be protected and development could proceed.

Councillors backed the findings of the £13,166 report at last Monday’s cabinet housing and planning panel.

Politicians ruled that it would be amiss to save a decoy airfield in Welwyn Garden City when the genuine facility has already been developed.

Councillor Mandy Perkins, the authority’s planning chief, said: “I know that the report of this will be very disappointing for a lot of people.”

She added: “It is a historical site, I agree with what everyone says, it would be rather amiss to have this saved and not Hatfield.

“Whatever happens going forward we are making people aware that this is a historic site.”

Despite ruling the site was not immune from development – as outlined in the council’s planning blueprint, The Emerging Core Strategy – several buildings were said to be of note.

The Mess Block and the Decoy Site Control Room “should be considered for further investigation by English Heritage”.

Panshanger resident Dean McBride was instrumental in the examination being carried out and has pledged to carry on fighting the plans.

“I’m not disappointed, I have gone as far as I can at the moment, but it is not over yet,” he said.

“The way I look at it, it is like one of those American football games.

“With the history I have thrown the ball to the receiver and he will score the touch down.”


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