Serbian Royal backs bid to save Panshanger Aerodrome

Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia

Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia - Credit: Archant

A SERBIAN royal this week backed a campaign to keep Panshanger Aerodrome free from development.

Campaigner Dean McBride wrote to Alexander II, the Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, to garner support for his quest to save the WGC aerodrome.

And last week Duska Trbojevic, the prince’s private secretary, wrote to Mr McBride on behalf of the royal household.

The Crown Prince’s father, King Peter II, trained at the aerodrome during World War Two, while the former Yugoslavia was under Nazi occupation.

The letter on behalf of Alexander II read: “His Royal Highness was not aware of the history of the site and agrees with you that saving the history is important.

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“He cannot help himself, but wishes you all the very best in your commendable efforts.”

King Peter II was joined by Prince Lipppe-Biesterfeld, the grandfather of the new King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, who Mr McBride has also written to in his bid to save the airfield.

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Mr McBride also invited the Serbian prince to visit the aerodrome on Sunday, August 11, but the letter said he was unable to attend owing to other commitments.

But he sent his “best wishes for a very successful event”.

Mr McBride said: “[It was] certainly a nice quick response from the Royal Family and very much appreciated on my part for the royal wartime connections.

“I am pleased that the Crown Prince agrees that the history is worth saving.”

As well as the Crown Prince and the King of the Netherlands, Mr McBride, who heads the Holwell Hyde Heritage group, also wrote to the British Queen, but was told she would not be able to intervene.

Under a planning blueprint being considered by Welwyn Hatfield Council, up to 700 homes could be built on the site.

The backing of the Serbian royal came as Carol Hyland, Welwyn Hatfield Council’s principal planner for policy, announced Atkins Heritage had been appointed to carry out “an historic assessment of Panshanger Airfield”. She said work would “commence shortly”.

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