Old Sarum Airfield loses High Court Appeal

OLD SARUM Airfield has lost its appeal against the refusal of planning permission, it has been confirmed today.

The High Court Judge,Mr Justice Robin Knowles CBE, has ruled in favour of Wiltshire Council and Secretary of State in the Judicial Review Appeal by Old Sarum Airfield Ltd.

The request for the review was submmited after Old Sarum Airfield Ltd had an application refused to build 462 homes and create a “flying hub”, complete with a heritage centre, visitor centre, restaurant, and new control tower.

The Council opposed this proposal, and after an inquiry, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government refused planning permission, stating “the proposed development would represent an erosion of the open character and appearance of the Airfield Conservation Area, the setting of the listed hangars and that of the Old Sarum [Scheduled Ancient Monument”.

The Airfield then claimed that the Planning Inpsector “failed to determine and then take into account and weigh a number of significant public benefits of the Proposed Development”, “that the reasons given by the Inspector do not meet the standard of reasons required, and that the Claimant has suffered substantial prejudice as a result”, and that the Inspector’s decision making was irrational and unfair”.

In conclusion, Mr Justice Robin Knowles CBE said: “The current position with the Airfield has some negative consequences for all. With care, rigour, respect for the – quite remarkable – heritage involved, a commitment to quality and a constructive approach I cannot see that an outcome involving appropriate development need elude the parties.

“A statement of common ground, absent in the present case as Mr Mohamed highlighted, would be crucial in any future dialogue, as something on which the parties could build, quite apart from its value should there really need to be any future proceedings.”

Campaign group SOS – Save Old Sarum called the decision “fantastic news”. 

Resident Sarah Champion and member of Save Old Sarum added: “Almost six years after the development was unveiled by Old Sarum Airfield Ltd and from our contest against it, we are pleased to see this ruling by the High Court.

“Now is the time for proactive dialogue between Old Sarum Airfield, Wiltshire Council and Heritage public bodies to ensure this nationally-important airfield is preserved for future generations and this historic and conservation area is enhanced.

“We look forward to seeing increased activity and would hope to see the owners reconsidering their policy of exclusion of both the pilots from the Shadow Flight Centre and general aviation.”

Old Sarum Airfield Ltd. has been approached for comment.

More to follow.

Salisbury Journal | News