Poeple power call

Published on: 14 Sep 2013

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People power needed for airfield

 

The fight to save Filton Airfield can be won - but it needs 'people power',
a public meeting heard.

Around 40 people gathered at Filton Community Centre, pictured opposite, to
hear a passionate case put forward to keep the airfield, which has been sold
by BAE Systems to property company Bridgehouse Capital.

The site closed to air traffic last December.

There are fears that a major campaign of housebuilding will turn the area
into "another Bradley Stoke" with no facilities and major transport issues.

Campaigners, who signed a petition pledging their support to keep the site
open, were also told that the focus of their campaign should be South Glos
Council which controls planning aspects of the site.

A panel consisting Filton town councillor Doug Daniels, Alison Devonshire of
the BS10 Parks and Planning Group, and Patchway town councillor Dave Tiley
outlined their views on the airfield's future before taking questions from
members of the public.

Cllr Daniels, right, a former Rolls-Royce chief engineer, said the decision
to close the airfield had been "heartbreaking".

"If we build houses on this site, we'll regret it in years to come," he
said.

"When you look at Concorde sitting on the side of the runway, have we any
thought for what we have done. We are losing a national asset."

Cllr Daniels said that in letters from transport minister Simon Burns, he
was told that planning decisions would be in the hands of South Glos
Council.

Ms Devonshire said her group was worried about the impact in parts of north
Bristol which fringe the airfield and highlighted the potential problems as
the roads try to cope with many more cars.

"We'll have another Bradley Stoke on our hands if we're not careful,"she
said.

Cllr Tiley, an aerospace shop steward, said that the campaign should draw
inspiration from the ongoing battle to re-open Highwood Road in Patchway,
citing the recent meeting on that subject which wa abandoned by South Glos
due to the sheer volume of people who attended.

He said a relentless campaign of pressure and media attention would make
South Glos notice.

Campaigner Barry Cash said that the decision to sell was purely down to
money and that "the people in power are not listening".

He said that those concerned about the airfield needed to express their
views at election time.

Campaigners also heard that there were concerns over possible flooding on
the site and also that any proposals which mixed industrial use and homes
would not work.

Campaigners were asked if they wanted to have more meetings and organiser
Alan Tink, a former Filton councillor, said they would take all the comments
on board as they planned the next stage.

 

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