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Bourn Airfield Development

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Bourn Airfield Development

Old 1st Aug 2013, 11:27
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: lancs.UK
Age: 72
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England is a very crowded country. we need a certain amount of agricultural land in order to feed ourselves,ensure fresh milk etc.
There are large tracts of moorland....so who wants to live in the Scottish highlands, Dartmoor or the Yorkshire moors, outside established communities, roads, services and infrastructure....they're undeveloped for good reason!

Airfields are usually close to communities and many do not use their space ,it benig just "wasted" grass areas...then there's the "blighted" areas on the Runway flight-paths.

All in all, the developers see an under-utilised site in a prime inhabited area.

France has roughly the same population as UK but is twice the size -hence, half the population density.

Sorry, just run the economics....it's a lot of land tied up for a relatively tiny amount of usage......
In the case of Bourn....multiply the proposed development's rate-revenue, then compare with what it's currently returning to the council as an airfield.

It's spelt G R A V Y T R A I N no council is going to turn it away,if they can get the cash-cow development through.

Stand by for Gertrude's robust rebuttal and assertion that councils bend over backward to promote GA.
cockney steve is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2013, 18:49
  #22 (permalink)  
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I started this thread to make other GA pilots aware of the plight of Bourn Airfield, not to start a debate about the quality of facilities at various airfields around the country or to begin a debate about the Nations housing requirements. This post is aimed at those who are interested in helping to save yet another UK GA airfield which is under threat but not yet gone.

The reality of the situation is this: due to Government's current stance on housing and the current relaxed planning regulations, all GA and ex-military airfields in the UK are under threat from developers.

If you are involved in any aspect of aviation, you should be against the development of any active GA airfield. We, as the UK's aviation community, should stand together on this issue and act as one. It might be Bourn today and your local airfield tomorrow! That is a fact!

From my perspective, I find Bourn airfield to be one of the friendliest airfields in the country. Every pilot and aircraft is always welcome to visit Bourn. I have flown many types including turbo props into Bourn and I have never had an issue with the runways or facilities, in fact, my experiences have always been very positive. Whilst you may not be greeted by a red carpet, an attractive young lady offering you a selection of fruit teas and there is no fifty inch flat screen TV in the club house, Bourn is a fantastic, quaint and historic place (the way 99% of FLYING CLUBS used to be). If you want to be pampered and treated like an airline pilot or film star, pop down to TAG in FAB or Harrods at LTN.

GA is all about airfields like Bourn and it would be a crying shame to lose this wonderful and historic place.

If you are interested in keeping Bourn airfield alive, follow the STOP-BAD website and the Facebook pages. We are building strength against the development and anybody, I repeat anybody in the UK who wishes object to the proposed development through the South Cambs District Councils consultation process, is welcome to do so. The consultation process is open until the 30th of September 2013. You will find details and links below and more information will become available on the STOP-BAD website very shortly.

If you are interested in helping us to save Bourn that would be much appreciated, if not, that's no problem.

For those aviators who are prepared to help us save this active and historic airfield, check out the links below.

Good Hunting!



Among The Living! is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2013, 21:26
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2009
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I first visited Bourn on my qualifying cross country, I've been back several times since but not very recently. Always found it to be a welcoming place, I remember a couple of Dalmatians being in the club house!

It would be a great shame and a loss if this airfield succumbed to the urban sprawl, you have my support.
Echo Romeo is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2013, 21:55
  #24 (permalink)  
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you have my support
It's not support that SCDC need, it's some alternative source of enough land to provide the housing required to meet the objectively assessed need.

Otherwise they get shafted at the examination in public. No petition can make any difference to that.
Gertrude the Wombat is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2013, 22:27
  #25 (permalink)  
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Location: Sussex and Asia
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I'm sorry but if I owned it I'd be looking to maximise my investment.

Bourne is just like dozens of airfields in the east of England. A decrepit ex WW2
airfield that is ripe for development that can support the city of Cambridge with much needed housing.

There is no demand or financial support for this old airfield in it's present state.

GA is well served nearby.

I'm on the side of Gertrude in developing old sites such as this for the benefit of those who cannot afford to live in overpriced Cambridge.

I wonder when Stickandrudderman last dinged his prop there?

Last edited by Ye Olde Pilot; 20th Aug 2013 at 22:32.
Ye Olde Pilot is offline  
Old 21st Aug 2013, 19:06
  #26 (permalink)  
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StopBAD Campaign claims first victory | StopBAD
Among The Living! is offline  
Old 22nd Aug 2013, 06:26
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2012
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It is cheaper to build on undeveloped sites - an airfield will fall into this category.

However under the definitions used, an airfield is a developed site - a "brown field" site as opposed to a "green field" site - central government planning policy guidance favours the development of "brown field" sites - hence any airfield is automatically under threat.

The funny thing is that if you want to develop and existing airfield as a fly in community much as one sees in the US or France - no chance.

I would think in this instance a fly in community with the big "flying properties arranged to provide some sound barrier to general housing could satisfy everyone. However, once a developer starts pumping the numbers into the development appraisal "all that, unused space" starts to look like such a "waste".

Generally, petitions do no good at all - good planning consultants/lawyers cost a lot of money - the best one can go is flight a delaying battle and hope that "the second best alternative" (there must be one) is promoted to "best location" if only because there a fewer objections. In this instance I am thinking this will be seen as a massive development spoiling someones rural/semi-rural idyll and so the "spoiling our village NIMBY brigade will be out in force.

Although I think it won't happen - pushing for development that retains light airplane use for recreation would be a solution. There are many examples of airfields next to residential property - Rochester springs to mind.

As an alternative - maybe use this loss of amenity to leverage another facility - e.g. the local authority endowing the other airfield on condition of no landing/tie down fees for singles under 1300kg in perpetuity. Here I enjoy such a facility at a what is a large international airport - not too many planes but those who have one do get a useful concession.

I would think that efforts to find a net benefit for everyone out of the situation may be a better use of people's talents, energy and money than locking horns on what sounds to be a losing battle for a facility that is past its prime and never likely to see the sort of capital expenditure to slow the decline yet alone see it reach a "high standard".
Ebbie 2003 is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2013, 18:50
  #28 (permalink)  
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We encourage everybody who wishes to object to the proposed development of Bourn Airfield in Cambridgeshire to follow the link on the STOP-BAD website and object to the proposed destruction of Bourn Airfield. The link on the website will give you a step by step guide (including a downloadable objection form) on how to object to the development of former RAF Bourn.

Anybody in the UK who is over eighteen, has an interest in Bourn Airfield and does not want to see this historic sight disappear, please follow the link below:


Please spread the word. With your help, we can prevent the loss of yet another historic airfield.

Among The Living! is offline  
Old 29th Jan 2016, 20:57
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Posts: 269
Is Bourn airfield still open and operational as at 29/01/2016????

I would like to fly in there this weekend (30/1). Can anyone advise please?
777fly is offline  
Old 30th Jan 2016, 10:18
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Still there - call them up 01954 719602 I believe.

Reading through some of these old posts you can see why things end as they do, for example.

I always like flying into Bourn as it is a friendly, working airfield rather than a glossy commercial concern. Everyone there seems to love flying and I don't mind if it's scruffy. Yes, I could pay 25 to land at Cambridge and enjoy a coffee machine and spotless planning room but I actually like making a cuppa at Bourn and being excused the landing fee because they welcome visits from "interesting aircraft" and waive the usual 10 fee
What is wrong with us? First of all it can not be a surprise that someone will actually own all these airfields that we like to visit. Therefore unless we expect them to provide this facility for free we should be happy to pay our landing fee, happy to pay for a coffee, bacon sandwich and uplift fuel. In fact if we want to ensure continued operation of the maximum number of airfields then the airfield owners/operators should make their coffee and bacon sandwiches at least as expensive as those you buy on the high st. And they should never waive a landing fee.

Our thinking is skewed all wrong when as GA pilots we have happily paid what 40-50hrs in a 150-180 PA28/C150-70 to get a PPL, we then rent them by the hour at a similar rate and then become all mean minded and have a moan up that we had to pay 10 landing fee and 3 for a coffee, before having a bigger moan up when these places can't make money and get sold for housing. Are we utterly mad?

Bourn is a mess, and actually whilst people might be very friendly and with the best of intentions it needs a spruce up both in terms of the physical airfield and the clubhouse. However sadly its chicken and egg. People don't come if there is nothing to come for, those that do come don't want to pay... and down it goes.

Unfortunately in 2016 the art and science of flying is not as attractive to the masses as it once was in the "golden era". The reasons for which I don't personally understand because we all are likely to agree that its possibly one of the best things we have all ever done.
Pittsextra is offline  
Old 30th Jan 2016, 17:12
  #31 (permalink)  
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I answered my own question today. There was no reply all Friday afternoon on the Bourn landline number, or early this morning, so I launched off with low expectations. Overhead at 0930 ( the published opening time) there was no reply on Bourn radio, so the choice was divert to Cambridge or Top Hall Farm or land at Bourn. After using the forced landing with power routine I elected to land at Bourn on runway 24. As I taxied to the tower area various people began arriving and opened up the club office. Far from being in trouble I was made very welcome and was informed that what I did was perfectly OK ( everyone had been too busy on an engineering problem to answer the phone) Bourne radio was on the air from 0940.
As mentioned in previous posts, the runway surfaces are beginning to break up, but they are far from unusable and there was no loose debris. Runway 18/36 is in the best condition. All approaches were clear but there are containers stacked on sections of the old runway.
I was happy to pay the 10 landing fee and that included a welcome free ride to where I needed to be, about 1 1/2 miles from the airfield. The feeling in the clubhouse was that the development 'isn't going to happen'.
I hope Bourn has an aviation future, but it is a very small and underfunded operation. The biggest drawback that I can see is that there appears to be little of interest in the immediate locality to attract visitors, the bus services are few and very far between and there is a 45 minute wait for a taxi. If there was to be some sympathetic development in conjunction with a revamp and preservation of the aviation corner of the old airfield the two might work together.
777fly is offline  
Old 30th Jan 2016, 17:51
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2011
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I think you folk are getting it wrong about Bourn. It is what it is. Which is a farm strip operation (that happens to have a hard runway because its on a disused airfield). Why ask it to be anything else?

I like it.
Heston is offline  
Old 31st Jan 2016, 15:23
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Airfields for re-development ? Of course. There is plainly too much supply chasing too little demand in this country. GA is contracting and airfields, like anything else operating in a commercial environment, have to make some money merely to survive, without consideration of a healthy profit enabling the owner/s to winter in Barbados.

My home airfield at Sarum is under threat as are a dozen others. The owners can't keep sticking their hand in their pockets to subsidise a handful of airfield users. Aware of all that has been going on over the last twenty five years, and putting on my 'best face', last year I flew into Lee on Solent to look at the improvements resulting from the application of shed loads of taxpayers cash.

The airfield, complete with several new buildings looked tidy, with what I could see of the runways appearing to be in good nick. Sapphire the handling agents - shortly to be given the bums rush - came out in their 'follow me' truck and were friendly and helpful. During the two hours that I was on the ground, two a/c arrived - none departed.

As a 'by the by', I still haven't worked out what Lee is for. It doesn't seem to be for GA.

As a consequence of the Johnny Prescott engineered assault on brownfield sites masquerading - he thought - as airfields, and starting with Grant Shaps MP and his Red Tape Challenge, I wrote to various names suggesting that it should be a legal obligation for any developer obtaining planning consent for re-development, to provide alternative airfield facilities within a reasonable distance of the airfield being developed.

A minimum requirement would be the provision of one runway, hangarage, cafeteria, control tower and a minimum square footage of office space. Nothing there that would be thought too drastic in view of the huge profits to be made.

The re-action to this proposal was a crashing silence. I can hardly think why.

As time goes by, more and more airfields will be built on. It is a natural progression explained by unrestricted immigration. GA will become squeezed and will come to rely on farm strips, accepting the restrictions that go with their use.

That, I think is the future.
Capt Kremmen is offline  
Old 1st Feb 2016, 14:35
  #34 (permalink)  
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The reason the runways are poor and club building falling down is planning here has been on the cards for decades.

no incentive to spend 250,000+ doing the place up if its going to be closed imminently. If the planning was chucked out then things would change as it could be a fantastic place for ga.

I quite like it there, quiet and relaxed.
you start up, taxi and take off - never any sitting around waiting for the planes infront. on your return you come straight in

As already mentioned the locals don't want the housing, there is no infrastructure and lot of the housing is earmarked for the oiks and other un desirables.
Camargue is offline  
Old 6th Feb 2016, 00:55
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2015
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The landowner now has permission to cover 18-36 with containers.

There's some harebrained scheme to make a new runway to the left of it out of the old hard taxiway and some grass. (are there any other 50/50 runways in existence?)

What could possibly go wrong?

It'll all be houses in 5 years time now.
kghjfg is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2016, 11:04
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by kghjfg View Post
are there any other 50/50 runways in existence?
22L/04R at Stapleford is a split between hard and grass (the 22 end hard, the 04 end grass), and you've got Earls Colne which has a hard 'insert' running along the edge of the grass.
alexbrett is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2016, 10:53
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Reading, Berkshire
Posts: 169
I visited Bourn on Monday, and wanted to say a little about it. First of all it's a very friendly and welcoming airfield. I want to urge GA pilots to visit and keep Bourn going. It is a slightly unusual experience however! So, here we go:

When you phone for PPR you may not get a reply and cannot leave a message. Don't let this put you off. I called on the radio 15 nm out and got the necessary information.

For accurate information go to the website, don't trust any other source, google maps especially if you are looking for a photo of the location. The active runway 18/36 is now the old taxiway that runs between the clubhouse and the old main runway, which is now covered in containers. I felt as though I was landing at a container port!

The runway is part paved (slightly broken but not a problem - it reminds me of Perranporth) and part grass. 36 has a slight upward incline in the middle. On 36 there is a clearly marked displaced threshold because of some low trees on final. Aim for the threshold and you should be fine. I was flying a PA28.

Someone has commented elsewhere that the facilities are tired and so on. It's true but the character and friendliness overcomes this and it's quite roomy with comfy chairs, TV, toilet etc. The were about 5 other folk there when I visited.

Finally, Bourn still has the housing development (3,500 new homes) hanging over it, so who would invest until that risk has been resolved? The people I met seemed quite hopeful about the survival of Bourn, but clearly it would help if more of us visited.
jayemm is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2016, 19:20
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: London
Posts: 192
Bourn is actually a really good place. Who cares is the clubhouse is not like Terminal 5? If I want that I'll go to Geneva! They are a friendly and professional bunch and the GA community should support places like this. The runway is fine as long as you can actually land an aircraft!
Footless Halls is offline  
Old 30th Oct 2016, 22:55
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: the dark side
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I called in at Bourn yesterday and the club members were friendly and welcoming as always. It was very noticeable that there were few aircraft around. The large hangar was only about a quarter full and the aircraft that had been parked outside on previous visits had gone. The hangar next to the clubhouse is now blocked in by portacabins and the number of containers on the field has increased sharply.
On top of the struggle to keep the airfield going, there was also the tragic accident a couple of weeks back

I hope the members will continue to fight the housing development and not give up hope due to owners moving their aircraft elsewhere.
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