Panshanger Aerodrome has been closed since September 2014, and had been put forward by landowner Mariposa Investments as a potential housing site in the borough council’s Local Plan last year. However, following a late U-turn, the proposals were scaled back to leave room for an airfield, and a source close to the subsequent negotiations revealed that an agreement to buy the land has been unofficially reached.

Community groups such as Save Panshanger and Panshanger People were set up to stop the proposed building of 700 houses on the airfield and have been successful in lobbying the council highlighting their concerns.

As you may have become aware in the press recently, the rather bizarre greenbelt boundary makes the centre of the site very narrow, which rather shows the council’s pledge in the Local Plan to ‘allow the opportunity for a realigned grass runway on land to the north of the Green Belt boundary’ as somewhat hollow!
However, the plan also states that ‘development at the site will be configured in such a way that the opportunity remains for the relocation of the grass runway to be provided on Green Belt land to the north of SDS1 [Panshanger development site]’

Panshanger Community Airfield takes the view that this commits them to take the spatial needs of an aerodrome in consideration when planning site development, and that a rationalisation of the Green Belt boundary is therefore necessary for the successful delivery of their ‘opportunity’, which they are intent on taking.
They have also received guarantees of support from the council in acquiring the greenbelt land from Mariposa.

This is great news, and we will be working with them to make sure the appropriate representations are made in the local plan process of which we have now entered the next and possibly last phase as it is scrutinised by an Independent Planning Inspector.
His name is Melvyn Middleton and his job is to examine the local plan and determine if it is “sound”. A program support officer has also been appointed, Louise St John Howe who organises the process and liaises with the council planning dept. and the public. Her email address is and phone number 07789 486419.

The inspector has now reviewed the plan and started asking the council additional questions, all of which are posted along with any new documents here . The inspector has now reviewed the plan and started asking the council additional questions, all of which are posted along with any new documents here. He has decided to tackle all the issues in four hearings on the following topics;

1) Legal soundness and Duty to cooperate, (includes community involvement, sustainability appraisal, habitat regulation assessment, National policy and other top level technical issues)

2) The Overarching Strategy and Associated Policies

3) Topic Specific Policies (topics not yet defined)

4) Settlement Policies and Site Allocations.

The first hearing will be on September 21st- 22nd, the second hearing on October 24th-27th and Nov 1st-3rd with the others to follow in 2018. Submissions have to be submitted by Sep 8th and Oct 6th for the first two hearings respectively.

If the Inspector finds the plan unsound on any of these issues, or finds a lot of smaller things wrong with the plan, he will end the process and the council will have to think again. There is a danger if that happens and the council cannot demonstrate sufficient numbers of homes in the pipeline for the next five years, that developers will have a stronger case to put in planning applications wherever they want to.

A double edged sword.The whole process has now become much more technical and more difficult for the lay man to understand, but Panshanger People and Panshanger Community Airfield will be putting their heads together and making representations relating to the plan and to Panshanger where appropriate. If you feel you want to contribute as well, do get in touch with Panshanger People or Louise St. John Howe.

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