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Help save RAF bicester

Old 22nd Sep 2006, 15:19
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Thumbs up Help save RAF bicester

SAVE ex RAF BICESTER Technical Site and help promote support for a WWII-Themed Bomber Command Heritage Centre for the 21st Century!

Many Stories can be said in a few words. This one incorporates the following: Bicester, social history, history, remembrance, science & engineering, industrial heritage, and education!

In partnership with others BCH is willing to be part of a bid proposal for the ex RAF Bicester Technical Site that would see, at the very least, some of the Site preserved as a small museum dedicated to RAF Bomber Command of the WWII-period and its formative years, which would be focused purely on the British & Commonwealth effort and sacrifice. With a bit more vision, this could well eventually be turned into a major UK visitor attraction in the South, and would realise the full potential of the Site-allowing us to do justice to the full scale of the subject.

Being realistic BCH understands the economic forces at play and the reasons why all of the Site cannot be preserved "as is". Naturally BCH would though wish to see as much as possible preserved, and the flying status of the Flying Field kept intact if at all possible. For information regarding our Campaign and to register your support immediately, please go to the following link (which you may have to paste into your browser) and sign the on-line petition!

http://www.bc-heritage.org/bicester

or our Main Site http://www.bc-heritage.org

Also letters of support would be much appreciated too!

Bomber Command Heritage
C/o 29 Eden Road
Gossops Green
Crawley
West Sussex
RH11 8LZ

Easy as one two and three!...And "Four" is to direct everyone to this forum so we can grow support for the BCH Campaign!

YES!! Everyone seems to be saving something these days, but to those sceptics out there, when its gone ITS GONE FOREVER!!! Hope we have not overstepped the mark with such a long post!

Best regards from all the team at Bomber Command Heritage.

Tony Whitfield
Secretary

BOMBER COMMAND HERITAGE
http://www.bc-heritage.org
"...our journey together."

Kindest Regards,
Peter Whitfield
website: www.lancasterfm159.freeservers.com
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Old 24th Sep 2006, 14:43
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Thumbs up

Tony

I totally agree with your sentiment: Bicester is decaying and fast! I would like to propose that if you do get the site for preservation that you do not turn it into a theme-park like Duxford. To restore it back to it's former WWII glory so that our children can see what it was like during the war would get my vote

Like one of those re-enactment sites that those Roman/Medieval groups do so well and are so educational for the kids.

Good luck

LJ
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Old 24th Sep 2006, 18:13
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Thumbs up

Strength to your elbow, Tony.
I recall a bunch of enthusiasts tried to get something similar to Leon's idea off the ground at Swanton Morley after RAF left in mid 1990s - combination of heritage / re-enactment experience and a centre for restoring, maintaining and flying historic aircraft. Didn't come to anything. Think the Army moved in, in the end. But the idea is great, even if hurdles are massive.
I'd certainly pay good money to take my young'uns along to see what a WWII flying station was like - or a decent approximation.
Good luck.
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Old 24th Sep 2006, 19:11
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Poor old Bicester is now badly hemmed in by houses.

Isn't that why the RAFGSA no longer fly from there?

The chances of keeping flying going must be remote, I'd have thought.

It's also brownfield land in one of the few areas in the Southeast where unrestrained building seems to be possible.

Don't get me wrong, I have spent many, may happy hours flying from Bicester and dragging gliders to and fro on its grass, and I regret what looks likely to happen, but I suspect that this one is a dead duck.
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Old 24th Sep 2006, 22:19
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Why is it "brown field"?
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Old 24th Sep 2006, 22:45
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Because, stupidly, unjustly, that is how planners categorise redundant airfields....
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Old 24th Sep 2006, 22:49
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Originally Posted by GOLF_BRAVO_ZULU
Why is it "brown field"?
Ahh well............ Brownfield land (Not actually coloured brown) is that land that is already developed. Got buildings on it. It thus encompasses any previoulsy developed land and any buildings (in this case Hangars etc) usually empty, which lie on it. Or they could be idle, abandoned, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. However Land including parks (Swings and stuff), allotments (like the ones in eastenders ) and recreational grounds which have not been developed in the past cannot be classed as brownfield.
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 10:23
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Also, your back garden is Brownfield land, so if you have a large back garden and build another house on it, it counts towards Prescotts target of building houses on brownfield land, when in fact you are concreting over a green space.

Historically airfields were green field sites, but where there were buildings it was brownfield, this made it more difficult to get planning to build on an airfield. Now we have new improved designations, and the whole airfiled is brownfield, and therefore planning is much easier to get - prepare to see many small civil airfields dissappear over the next decade.
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 14:22
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There has been a lot of pressure on the town of Bicester to expand in recent years and the RAF airfield must be viewed as prime real estate by developers, builders and those councils trying to meet govt guidelines/directives for the provision of new dwellings. The site is split by an A road: one side is where the airfield, hangars and a few boarded up buildings lie (RAFGSA has moved on but there is still a busy gliding club in situ) and the other side of the road are a number of buildings in use by DLO.

An RAF heritage site would be wonderful but I wonder is Bicester any better than other sites around the UK. Does it have any special or particular significance? I wish the Bomber Command Heritage Centre the best of luck but sadly I cant help but feel that the writing is on the wall for the site. Sorry for being negative, just my 0.02 Rials-worth.
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 15:04
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What's special is that Bicester must be close to being in unmodified WWII state - with very, very little development since '45.

It's probably closer to being a representative pre-war/Wartime light bomber base than anywhere else - even places like Little Rissington.
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 15:35
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Smile Other sites

I talked to Tony and asked him if there are other sites of interest. I was thinking of Scampton and other sites such as Binbrook etc but you want to make sure you are going to have some sort of secure location right?
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 16:53
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Originally Posted by Jackonicko
What's special is that Bicester must be close to being in unmodified WWII state - with very, very little development since '45.
It's probably closer to being a representative pre-war/Wartime light bomber base than anywhere else - even places like Little Rissington.
I thought Bicester was about to be listed?!?! JN is right, this airfield is probably the last UK military airfield in its original state, and for this reason it should be preserved, perhaps as a museum?

But whilst we are at it what about RAF Church Fenton? This is probably the last pre-war fighter style airfield left which could be returned to its original state. All it would take, IIRC, would be the demolition of the horrible 1960s(?) Amenities Centre (on the sight of the old parade square) and the demolition of the Tucano era sim building. Other than that it is pretty much intact................................apart from the missing O's Mess and Sector Operation Centre criminally bulldozed a few years ago!!
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 17:07
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Tried signing your petition but the site seems to fart every second and reload the image up top, making the form pretty much un-usable.

Is it just me? Will try again though...
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 17:36
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RAF Bicester.

Regrettable that the spectre rises again.

I also thought that it had won a reprieve which was why it was again being used as a Gliding site.
Such a shame that the property speculators are greedily eyeing it with a view to ruining one of the best landing surfaces in the country.

Wouldn't it be brilliant for part of OAT's operation ?? Just a thought.
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 19:20
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I was in Bicester ATC Sqn for several years in the mid-late 70s, and spent many happy times on the airfield. However, I think I'm right in saying (and I do stand to be corrected) that Bicester, despite its long history, never launched even one operational sortie. Without some kind of combat history, it's difficult to see it being saved; the public won't identify with it. I wish you luck.
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 20:05
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Great idea, something I had thought many a time... however it would be interesting to know how much research you have done into the project, RoC to sort the buildings etce.

The site has great historic value in that it is a largely intact example of a RAF Airfield dating from the expansion years 1927 to 1939. No real building carried out on the site from 1939 until 2001 and then only three buildings put up in the Domestic Site. namelly a Ballistic Range, ATC HQ and a Gas Meter Shelter!

Shame the Tech Site is so run down, but last time I saw it all things considered it wasent too bad, seen worse, hey lived in worse lol (tidders for example).

Best of luck to you in your project.

Lancasterman check your PM's Sir.
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 22:03
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Sorry to harp back to the brownfield classification but I thought a bright girl in the PFA had spotted that clause in the document presented by Prescott's Dept. Does that mean that it has been given a new life in accordance with the Governments principle of always getting its own way?

Regarding the precise thread, I agree that Bicester is of historical significance and deserves preservation. Is this the only 1917 vintage aerodrome to remain grass surfaced and still in MoD hands?
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Old 25th Sep 2006, 23:44
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Originally Posted by GOLF_BRAVO_ZULU
Sorry to harp back to the brownfield classification but I thought a bright girl in the PFA had spotted that clause in the document presented by Prescott's Dept. Does that mean that it has been given a new life in accordance with the Governments principle of always getting its own way?

Regarding the precise thread, I agree that Bicester is of historical significance and deserves preservation. Is this the only 1917 vintage aerodrome to remain grass surfaced and still in MoD hands?
The 1917 bit got knocked down when they built the 1927 Airfield, bounderies pretty remained the same though. The old WW1 hangers were alongside the main road towards Buckingham if I remember right. There is mention of an old barn/farm on some early maps over near the Domestic Site that may be still there, but what you see now went up between 1927 and 1939.
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Old 17th Nov 2006, 19:18
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Things are progressing with the Campaign!

Hi All!

First off, thanks to Peter for getting this thread going!

To answer some questions that have been posted here we initially were approached by a consortium of developers a while ago, but thier bid fell through. At this time we are in communication with local authorities and others. Time will tell if anything blossoms out of what is currently happening behind the scenes, we do hope so!

Windrushers is still, and will continue to be active on the airfield which is great news. Windrushers have of course had a long affiliation with RAF Bicester. Please visit their site and go book a few tows!

www.windrushers.org.uk

In regards to RAF Bicester having no combat history many RAF Bomber Command O.T.U's did indeed make up the numbers on quite a few ops, so there is quite a bit of history that remains untold, which I am sure would intrigue people.

Just to let those of you that have posted we seem to have stirred up quite a bit of interest which is great for the RAF Bicester Campaign. Obvously many people out there suffer the "British Disease" that its not worth showing an interest in such a cause, but we have hardened up to that kind of attitude, and are getting some extremely good responses. At such a time of year, i.e Armistice Day, to think of those that trained at RAF Bicester, never to return, it is quite sad that people say there is "No History" to the site.

http://archive.bicesteradvertiser.ne...27/106686.html

If the inevitable does occur, and the site completely re-developed we wish to make sure that the history is told in some way, which would still require a museum, however small on site. Please be aware we are Pro-Aviation and wish to see the flying field remain active.

We continue to seek people that served there, especially during the WWII Period, or relatives that may wish to share stories.

If anyone does feel the urge I am able to supply hard copies of our petition form to people who may wish to stick them up on the wall in their local flying club, or to distribute amongst friends or relatives. No rude comments about where it could be placed either thanks! Just send me an E-mail or contact me direct via our website www.bc-heritage.org

From all the Team at BCH, thanks for posting to this thread, and keep 'em coming!

More at a later date!

Best regards

Tony
Secretary
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Old 21st Aug 2007, 12:54
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To All

All,
We are still fighting tooth and nail to save this historic site, and are pushing forward our project for a Bomber Command Heritage Centre/ Museum to be located on the aerodrome. We are liaising with Windrushers and local councils to make sure flying also continues, however this continues to be under threat from local planning applications made on the aerodrome boundary. There is a great risk, like all other "Conservation areas", that such a site with tremendous history should be left to rot, or used for mixed development thus losing yet another aerodrome.

To create a BCH Heritage Centre on this aerodrome is a viable proposition. I can only ask you, to help make this site a continued hub of aviation activity and historical importance to be accessed for all.

Please go to the Contact page on our website. www.bc-heritage.org and send us your details if you would like to assist with this project, especially if you are located in the vicinity of the aerodrome, and I will be in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Remember, once it has gone, it has gone forever.

Best regards

Tony
BOMBER COMMAND HERITAGE
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