I don't want them building over our Countryside
Brownfield Site or Green and Pleasant Land ?
Flying over Dunsfold Aerodrome and countryside
To take a look from the air at what has been described as the most beautiful airfield in the all of England.
FILM FOOTAGE FROM THE AIR
Aviator Tim Clarke's film short on Dunsfold Aerodrome.
Enlarge the frame to full screen to get the full impact of just how green the airfield and surrounds really are.
DUNSFOLD in the WEALD AERIAL FILM
This short 360 film really lets you see just how green Dunsfold Aerodrome is and how well it fits in with its surroundings, bordered closely by the Surrey Hills AONB.
Dunsfold Aerodrome isn't actually a "Brownfield" site at all. It had a covenant to return the airfield back to the original farm land. Only the runways and a few buildings had been classed at around 15% "brown".
Benbow Farm, Dunsfold, was acquired under compulsory purchase Emergency Powers Act (defence)1939 as a war measure. The Govt made a promise that the land should return to agricultural use afterwards.
In 1999 and before they left, an application by BAe for a variation of the planning permission led to a series of events with Waverley Borough Council. The site was to be returned to agricultural use at the end of BAe's occupation but the variation allowed for keeping current status and possible growth. This resulted in a costly application for judicial review which the High Court upheld. It was unfortunately overturned on appeal leading to the unwelcome brownfield status.
Many airfields whether in use or not have been classified as brownfield and so property developers have sought ways to turn what is green countryside into industrial/housing to maximize profit.
The Affordable Housing MYTH
We understand that employees at various business' at Dunsfold Park are being led to believe that they will be able to afford the flats & houses proposed in the application. But of course, they are to be at market rates (Dunsfold Park has already stated that). As usual, as soon as they are built many will be bought up by the private sector to rent out. Just wait for all the "To Let" signs going up!
Currently, a local new and "affordable" home in the Guildford area is around £250,000 at the cheapest. That means that a buyer will need to earn a minimum of £60,000 plus a modest deposit.
Location, location, location!
This location is totally unsuitable for major development, the local road network is already heavily subscribed. It is estimated that this development when completed would bring over 6000 car movements per day plus 100's HGV. Both local rail stations at Witley and Milford have no further space for parking in the mornings.
This part of Surrey is the heart and lungs of the country being the most wooded in all of England and surrounded by the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
Beautiful Dunsfold Aerodrome
RSM Lockwood MBE recalls the building of Dunsfold "Airdrome".
He describes arriving to find…”acres of beautiful crop and pasture land, broken at intervals by groves of staunch blue and red oak trees. It was one of the grandest pastoral scenes in the whole of England.” Click here for the full text
John Gelling | Ex Oxford, RAF Air Traffic (National Service) writes:
"Dunsfold, England's green and pleasant land... Flying a Cessna small aircraft on a round trip from Biggin Hill to the Needles and back showing American friends the English countryside. I lost my precise way over the New Forest in the direction of Gatwick. Whilst my US passengers like me, admired the glorious greens and browns of an English autumn I needed to find a location to land with safety. Suddenly appeared the most attractive airfield I have seen in my flying career... it was cut through a forest or woodland, 2 miles long and with pristine tarmac. Only to be met by The Ministry of Defence Police in a black Land Rover threatening to impound the aircraft, the passengers and their cameras. The MOD were the essence of politeness, explaining that Dunsfold was the home for the development of the Harrier aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability. Finally Gatwick Air Traffic nursed us through the control zone and finally back to Biggin Hill.
Today, in the face of potential planning consents to develop a large Dunsfold conurbation, why not take a flight by Cessna or helicopter over the area and appreciate the beauty of Dunsfold..
once destroyed never recreated"
John served his National Service in the UK, Germany and Aden. An Oxford University degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. University of Pennsylvania MBA : business career with key roles in British Business including Tesco, Crown Estate and Duchy of Cornwall. He is now preparing to enter the Chinese management recruitment market.
Nightingales are quite prolific around Dunsfold Airfield. The Dunsfold Nightingales were mentioned be Miss Mary Mudie of Dunsfold in her letter to the Spectator Magazine dated 30th September 1937.
"Between 1995 and 2013 there has been a decline in the Nightingale population of 37% and are now on the Red List" | RSPB Life Fellow News - Spring 2016.