Storm Isha destroys First World War hangar near Salisbury

STORM Isha has badly damaged a First World War aircraft hangar near Salisbury.

The structure, at Old Sarum airfield, was struck by wind speeds of more than 38 mph on January 21.

As a Grade II* listed site, it is defined by Historic England as “particularly important” and “of more than special interest”.

Nick Baker, chair of Laverstock & Ford Parish Council, said: “Old Sarum is a living monument to those who served our countries in two world wars, as well as an important part of our historical and architectural heritage.

“The hangar is one of three listed former World War 1 aircraft hangars on the site and was first listed with Historic England in August 1989.

“It was placed on the ‘At Risk’ register in November 2020 following a partial roof collapse.

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“The current directors of the Airfield have submitted a planning application to develop the airfield, including the building of houses.

“We know that the outcome of the planning application on this site is unlikely to be finalised this year, and it is clear that action cannot wait until then.

“We call on Wiltshire Council and Historic England to take urgent action to assess the extent of the damage and if necessary enforce the obligations law places on the owners.”

A spokesperson for Historic England said: “We remain disappointed with the deteriorating condition of the Grade II* Listed Hangar at Old Sarum Airfield in Salisbury, and we’re concerned to hear there has been a further collapse.

“A plan has been put forward to rebuild the hangars using some of the original material.

“We’ve given advice to the local authority about the implications of these proposals, which we hope will inform their assessment of the planning application.”

Cllr Nick Botterill, cabinet member for strategic planning at Wiltshire Council, added: “We are very concerned about the damage to this historic hangar. We have raised the state of the building with the owner on several occasions and we would expect it to have been properly maintained.

“We have been working closely with Historic England over recent years and explored all possible opportunities to prevent the building from falling into disrepair. Unfortunately, there is no legal obligation for owners to maintain listed buildings, other than in case of ensuring public safety.

“We have required the owner to carry out appropriate temporary works to ensure public safety around the building. However, due to the construction type of this building, much of the building will need to be reconstructed and there is no further legal action we as the local planning authority can take in the meantime to reduce the need for reconstruction rather than repair.

“A full and detailed digital survey of the structure has been undertaken by Historic England’s specialist recording teams and this is available to the owners.

“We can confirm we have also received a planning application for land at Old Sarum Airfield. As with all planning applications, it will be processed in the usual way, in accordance with planning law and local and national planning policies.”

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