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-   -   Colerne Airfield (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/623781-colerne-airfield.html)

COYB 22nd Jul 2019 10:27

Colerne Airfield
 
Dear all,

Does anyone know what the situation and the long term plan at Colerne Airfield is?

Originally the airfield was planned for closure in 2018, then I read back in March this year that Colerne been given reprieve until at least 2025, great, but I'm under the impression that BUAS (Bristol University Air Squadron) have relocated to Boscombe Down, which begs the question what now for the airfield?

The local residents, according to the parish council minutes, are keen to see light aviation continue on the site, I can't see more than limited house building on the site due to the current road links to the village, unless they build a new access road from the A4 up the hill...

Such a lovely airfield, what a great opportunity for a GA to flourish in an area poorly served by airfields, that I mean the Bristol / Bath bailiwick. You have Bristol International airport, hats off for the two flying schools that continue to operate from there, a long drive to Gloucester or Kemble or a handful of farm strips.

flyingkeyboard 22nd Jul 2019 20:25

Recently moved out of a quarter there; also a member of a local flying club where this has been discussed. Last I heard, there are people interested in buying it to run some sort of aviation operation out of there. This could be hearsay of course. No idea what will happen to the whole site - I imagine that it would be fairly easy to move 21 Sigs out of there, but the SGS?

Colerne is a beautiful place, with excellent links to Bath and Chippenham, with the M4 not too much further afield. The only thing that lets it down are the atrocious road links, which I think they would struggle to improve. That said, it could be the remote nature of the place that has allowed it to stay fairly underdeveloped, with a decent village/community feel.

Brian W May 22nd Jul 2019 22:38

Had a couple of very happy years there in 1971-73 before departing to go aircrew.

Fabulous station, lovely surrounding area and great fun in Bath.

COYB 23rd Jul 2019 09:02

I really hope it's true that there are some people hoping to buy the airfield, I think Azimghur barracks (21 Sigs) will be there until 2031 (according to wiki...). From what I've learnt the two locations will be treated separately.

Did hear a rumour though about asbestos in the UAS hanger, surely thats a universal problem in most pre-war expansion period RAF stations?

chevvron 23rd Jul 2019 10:53

Wondering about Halton airfield likewise.
With the station not now closing until 2025 and Aylesbury Vale District Council apparently having 'no plans' for it, will it remain open as an airfield?
For housing, it would certainly need a lot of preparation work as a lot of the airfield has PSP/steel rod re-inforcement just below the surface and this would need to be lifted and the subsoil de-contaminated before they could build, but with all the vast camp area becoming available too, would it be needed for housing?
I think I read somewhere that the 2 main hangars are listed anyway.

malcolm380 23rd Jul 2019 15:30

I had the good fortune to attend Air Training Corps annual camp at Colerne in 1973. I was able to get myself attached to the control tower for most of the camp. I recall a few C130s visiting during the week, one of which I was able to get on board while (IIRC) a Bloodhound missile was loaded. I was in the C130 cockpit at the time. Happy days!! A Concorde flew low over the airfield one day, on its way back to Fairford, I imagine.

1066 28th Jul 2019 12:27

The Colerne asbestos problem has been running for some time. Prior to 3 AEF moving there from Hullavington, we "commuted" the Chipmunks on a daily basis while asbestos was allegedly removed from the roof of the hangar. The one by the old control tower next to the main domestic site. This was late '92/ early '93.
The Bulldog era seemed to pas without any asbestos scares but from Sep '07 Colerne was closed again for asbestos removal from the same hangar. By Nov '07 the Tutors were at Lyneham and "commuting" daily again. Early 2008 we were back using the hangar at Colerne again.
So the latest decamp to Boscombe is the third asbestos episode in 30 years!

I wonder who did the removals and who checked it had been removed!

1066

pr00ne 28th Jul 2019 22:49

1066,

I think this latest decamp is an escape due to closure of the airfield and withdrawal of RAF Air Traffic and fire staff. Had heard a local rumour that they were off to the Navy satellite airfield at Merryfield, so maybe Boscombe Down is a temp home until they can find the funds to build facilities there?

chevvron 29th Jul 2019 03:48


Originally Posted by pr00ne (Post 10530868)
1066,

I think this latest decamp is an escape due to closure of the airfield and withdrawal of RAF Air Traffic and fire staff. Had heard a local rumour that they were off to the Navy satellite airfield at Merryfield, so maybe Boscombe Down is a temp home until they can find the funds to build facilities there?

I thought the ATC staff were civilian contract staff.

BEagle 29th Jul 2019 09:17

I gather that Merryfield is actually rather busy these days with RN (and AAC?) rotary training activities. Difficult to coordinate with UAS requirements. Also the present day locals are very anti any further aircraft noise. Whereas when I lived there many years ago, people were pretty tolerant of the Vampires, Canberras, Wyverns and Sabres. As well as the FAA's Sea Venoms a few years later whilst Yeovilton was being prepared for the Sea Vixen. Of course it was manna from heaven for me, living less than a mile from the RW threshold!

Little in the way of permanent buildings and with a travellers' site where the old Westland's hangar was in the 1950s, probably quite a bit of investment would be needed to accommodate UAS/AEF flying.

geniculate 29th Jul 2019 22:34

The radical solution is keeping them at Colerne. I'm sure a temporary hanger is far cheaper than bringing another airfield up to scratch...

andrewn 29th Jul 2019 22:56


Originally Posted by geniculate (Post 10531624)
The radical solution is keeping them at Colerne. I'm sure a temporary hanger is far cheaper than bringing another airfield up to scratch...

Not as radical as concreting over the place with thousands of toytown houses though!

Arclite01 30th Jul 2019 08:42

Not even sure that the Asbestos thing is a factor. As people have said, a cheap temporary (or even permanent) hangar is not that expensive and is an easy solution if that is all that is the issue.

I think the UAS had left before the original decision to close the airfield was overturned.

The sensible thing to do is of course, to move the UAS straight back in before it deteriorates but this requires a quick decision(which they won't do) and of course the facilities will deteriorate even further and then require a huge investment to bring up to scratch, and that will make it not cost effective so best leave them where they are at Boscombe and then sell off the airfield at Colerne (and we go full circle back to decision 1).

I actually think that having overturned the decision to close the airfield, MoD actually don't know what to do with it............................ they don't really have any flying units to put there permanently do they ?

Arc

I would suggest moving 621 VGS back in there maybe..................??

pr00ne 30th Jul 2019 18:07

Arclite01,

You refer to a decision to close the airfield being reversed, I don't think that's the case at all. I think that they have spilt the airfield from the technical/domestic site. The Army barracks that consist of the technical/domestics site at Colerne is what has been reprieved until 2031 or thereabouts, the airfield still closing as originally planned.

Arclite01 31st Jul 2019 09:11

I believe that the Airfield is to be retained until 'at least 2025' and the Barracks until 2031.

That was stated in a MoD doc I read somewhere on the web..........

Arc

pr00ne 3rd Aug 2019 22:22

Arclite01,

I have heard about the barracks retention, but why keep a disused airfield open until 2025 when it has no users?

Arclite01 5th Aug 2019 09:14

No idea

I was just recycling something I remember seeing somewhere on the web. And being equally surprised......................

Arc

andrewn 5th Aug 2019 13:51

Not much to go on, but I suspect that "needs of the local community" translates into "will be sold off to Property Developers at earliest opportunity"......

Airfield Disposals

chevvron 5th Aug 2019 17:51


Originally Posted by andrewn (Post 10537264)
Not much to go on, but I suspect that "needs of the local community" translates into "will be sold off to Property Developers at earliest opportunity"......

Airfield Disposals

No way Molesworth could be used as an airfield again, the runways were all dug up when the cruise missile base was constructed; there's just a large dispersal and a couple of hangars there now along with the bunkers.
N53 deg 23' 06" W000 deg 25' 19".

andrewn 5th Aug 2019 19:23


Originally Posted by chevvron (Post 10537425)
No way Molesworth could be used as an airfield again, the runways were all dug up when the cruise missile base was constructed; there's just a large dispersal and a couple of hangars there now along with the bunkers.
N53 deg 23' 06" W000 deg 25' 19".

Agreed, only a numpty would think there was any chance of most of them being retained as ACTIVE airfields - given many havent been active for decades now! The thing is with the BBC the quality of journalism is so poor they probably took whatever quote they were given and then used it in some random context.


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