Airfield is too great an asset to let close, warn councillors
LABOUR councillors in South Gloucestershire have launched an online campaign to save Filton airfield from being closed.
They do not accept the airfield should close and want to see it remain as a focal point for the aerospace industry.
The councillors are urging people to put aside their political allegiances to sign the petition which can be found at www.sglabour.org.uk/airfield-petition.
It reads: "We the undersigned are petitioning to protect Filton Airfield as a unique asset supporting the local aerospace economy and call upon South Gloucestershire Council to protect and promote Filton and Patchway as an aerospace world centre of excellence providing high value skilled jobs."
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Councillor Adam Monk, who represents Filton on the district council and is also chairman of Filton Town Council, said: "We do not accept that the airfield should be developed and we have made this position crystal clear in our submission to the consultation, which has been passed on to the Government-appointed inspector.
"We do not know when the inspector will decide his preferred way forward, and in the meantime we need to build a campaign with those who share our view. We need to show not only that local people care but also the airfield can have a future."
Councillor Ian Boulton (Lab, Staple Hill), the Labour group's spokesman on employment and skills issues, said thousands of jobs depended on Filton and Patchway remaining as a world centre of excellence in aerospace.
In a mission statement to the council, the councillors say: "We believe that the Filton-Patchway area should be a world centre of excellence in aerospace, supporting high-value skilled engineering jobs with an airfield runway as a unique asset at its hub.
"Filton Airfield is an integral and strategic part of the success of the aerospace industry in this area and the UK for over 100 years and therefore merits special consideration. The Filton-Patchway area supports some 10,000 high-skill/high-value jobs and supports a further 30,000 supply chain/service sector jobs.
"The recent introduction of a science park and the National Composite Centre nearby only serve to highlight the importance of this site in regional and national economic terms."
The future of the airfield is in doubt because landowner BAE Systems has announced it is to close it in December next year.
The council's consultation on the future of the airfield ended on July 29 although it has said that late submissions will still be accepted.
A public inquiry will be held soon which will examine South Gloucestershire Council's plans for development in the future, including the airfield.
This has led to the Tory-run council issuing a "position statement" on the airfield which sets out three options.
The council's preferred option is to allow redevelopment as long as a list of conditions are met – one of them is to provide a museum for Concorde and secure "the long-term legacy of aviation in Filton".
If the 300-acre airfield was sold off for housing, it could provide enough land for 3,500-5,000 and make an estimated profit of £120 million for BAE Systems.