The following was last updated on 20 October 2017. By John Walker.


Braintree, Colchester and Tendring Councils are co-operating in developing a Local Plan for north-east Essex with an area including Andrewsfield airfield, earmarked for a garden city with ultimately 10,000 homes. The definitive Local Plan was submitted for Public Examination on 9 October 2017.


Balfour-Beatty has sold its 95% interest in the airport and associated land to Blackpool Council (which held the remaining 5% interest) for £4.25 million. The Council intends to fund the purchase through the sale of some airport land for industrial purposes, and a full business case exploring the potential future for the airport is being developed in accordance with a strategic master plan for both the adjoining Enterprise Zone and airport.


Site earmarked for 3,200 homes in current draft Local Plan by South Cambridgeshire District Council. The draft Plan was the subject of Public Examination by a Planning Inspector with specific hearings on the proposals for Bourn airfield held on 4 April 2017.


The airfield, occupied and operated by Martin-Baker Aircraft (MBA), has been transferred from the MoD to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Site included in South Oxfordshire District definitive Local Plan public consultation document for a 3,000 home development with a new runway for MBA operations.


Site accepted under the Government’s Garden Village scheme for development with around 1,250 homes. The development is supported by the Brudenell Estate, the site owner. Full public consultation is expected in November / December 2017 on a proposed site master plan in support of a planning application expected to be made in early 2018.


A planning application for mixed use development with 1,800 homes on the site was approved by Waverley Borough Council on 14 December 2016. However, local Parish Council representations caused the application to be called in for a Public Inquiry, which ended on 3 August 2017.


The York City Council definitive Local Plan consultation document was issued on 18 September 2017 and includes a development of up to 3,330 dwellings, partly occupying the middle section of the Elvington airfield runway. The consultation is due to end on 30 October 2017.


Surrey Heath Council made a confidential, unsuccessful bid to establish a Garden Village with 1,500 homes on the site under the Government’s scheme. Tenants were advised later of this proposal and public consultations started in February 2017, with submission of planning application due in late 2017.

Halfpenny Green (Wolverhampton Business Airport) 

The aerodrome was sold to MCR Property Group, an investment and development company focused on commercial and residential real estate. The Group expects to complete an initial study by Autumn 2017 into the future airport but this reportedly excludes housing on the site.


The former RAF Hullavington airfield site has been sold to Dyson Ltd, which has submitted a planning application to renovate two existing Type D hangars as a prelude to producing a site master plan.


A Commercial Estates Group (CEG) has proposed building a 2,000 home sustainable village on this ‘brownfield’ site, as an alternative to the draft Cotswold District Local Plan proposal for a greenfield site near Cirencester. The definitive Local Plan was submitted for Public Examination in June 2017, with public hearings starting on 10 October 2017.

Long Marston   

Airfield is designated in Stratford-on-Avon emerging Local Plan for housing and has Garden Village approval. A Supplementary Planning Document for the site was issued on 19 October 2017 for public consultation. Developer is Cala Homes in conjunction with site owner. Airfield tenants given Notices to Quit by the end of 2017. Refer to entry for Wellesbourne below.


River Oak has given notice that it intends to apply for a Development Consent Order for the aerodrome as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. Meanwhile the site owners have submitted a planning application to Thanet District Council for a mixed use development, with a smaller airstrip being kept to allow occasional landings by Spitfire aircraft in conjunction with existing local museums. However, a recent Planning Inquiry dismissed appeals concerning planning applications for change of use of existing airport buildings (the applications have effectively been refused). A Council-commissioned study into the future of the site as a commercial airport in support of its Local Plan submission for mixed use development concluded that such operations were not viable.

MoD Sites

The MOD document A Better Defence Estate that was issued on 7 November 2016 lists the following aerodrome sites for disposal in the years indicated:

Abingdon 2029; Alconbury 2023; Arbroath, RMB Condor airfield 2020; Brawdy, Cawdor Barracks 2024; RMB Chivenor 2027; Colerne 2018; Dishforth airfield 2031; RAF Halton airfield 2022; RAF Henlow 2020 – site earmarked for mixed use development in Central Bedfordshire Council draft Local Plan; Mildenhall 2022; Molesworth 2023; North Luffenham 2021 – Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Rutland County Council discussing Garden Village proposal for this site; Woodbridge, Rock Barracks 2027.

The former RAF Wethersfield airfield site is being transferred to the HCA in 2020.

RAF Wyton airfield is being sold off – DIO and local property developer Crest Nicholson have proposed up to 4,500 homes on the site. However, due to road infrastructure issues the site has been deleted from Huntingdonshire District Council’s definitive 2036 Local Plan for mixed use development including housing.

North Denes   

The airfield (also known as Yarmouth Heliport) has two grass runways, but has been put up for sale having been disused since 2015 (on the cessation of North Sea helicopter operations).

Nottingham City (Tollerton)    

With the support of the land owner, the site has been earmarked for up to 4,000 homes in a Local Plan Core Strategy adopted by Rushcliffe Borough Council after approval from the Planning Inspector. A public consultation is on-going into Local Plan preferred sites (other than Core Strategy sites).

Old Sarum         

The site owner’s proposal for a housing development and 10 additional hangars, among other work, was objected to by various parties as being detrimental to the site’s heritage while also potentially limiting use of the airfield. After prolonged discussion with Wiltshire Council, the proposal has been amended to delete the on-airfield accommodation and the Council decision is still pending.


Site originally earmarked for housing by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, but the definitive Local Plan reduces the housing element and allows an opportunity for a realigned grass runway on land to the north of the previous runway, 11/29. The definitive Local Plan is subject to public examination, which started on 21 September 2017. Two separate parties are seeking to re-open the aerodrome and local press report that a planning application to restore the aerodrome is expected shortly.

Peterborough / Sibson

An expression of Interest the build a 2,500 home Garden Village on the site was submitted to HCA by Huntingdonshire District Council, in conjunction with Larkfleet Homes and the landowner. The bid was unsuccessful, resulting in the Council withdrawing its support for the plan. However, the UK Government may call for further Expressions of Interest in Garden Villages in 2017.


FlyPlymouth, a local social enterprise aerodrome support group, plans to reopen the airfield and start regional airliner services. Sutton Harbour Holdings, the site leaseholder, has proposed a mixed-use development of the site, although the definitive Local Plan retains the site for aviation. The definitive Plymouth City / South West Devon Joint Local Plan was submitted on 31 July 2017 for public examination.


The land owners and Thakeham Homes, a local housing developer, have proposed a 9,600 home garden village on the site (and on land beyond the boundary). Tandridge District Council’s public consultation on four potential Garden Village sites, including Redhill Aerodrome, ended on 9 October 2017. The Draft Local Plan currently earmarks the aerodrome for employment purposes and notes that it is in the Green Belt, with a high risk of surface water flooding.

Wellesbourne Mountford  

Gladman Developments, in conjunction with the land owner, proposed a housing development with 1,600 homes on the site, although the Stratford-on-Avon Local Plan Core Strategy earmarks Long Marston airfield as its preferred housing development site. The Core Strategy, after approval by a planning inspector, has been adopted by the Council and states that “The aviation related functions at Wellesbourne Airfield will have been retained and enhanced.” Tenants had previously been notified by the owner that flying activities would cease in December 2016, but the airfield remains open pending the result of Court action by the tenants to obtain new leases. The District Council has formally rescinded the owner’s permitted development rights for the airfield and is seeking to negotiate a possible purchase of the site.

Wycombe Air Park    

Site lease holder (Helicopter Aircraft Holdings Ltd) has agreed new leases with the land owner, Wycombe District Council (WDC). The Draft Local Plan provides for an industrial / warehousing complex on the south-eastern part of the site, which would result in the loss of a runway and relocation of gliding activities. WDC expect to submit its final draft plan for public consultation in October / November 2017.



Ian Sheppard

Ian Sheppard is a director of First Aerospace Media, based at Redhill Aerodrome near Gatwick. A graduate in Aeronautical Engineering, Ian was an aviation journalist and editor for many years, including editing AOPA UK's magazine for two years. He has a Graduate Diploma Law and completed the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law. Ian has an FAA PPL and EASA/CAA CPL with Flight Instructor Rating.
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