Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 09:05 UK

Inquiry starts into ex-RAF base

Airbase shelters
Aircraft shelters along the north and west boundaries would be kept

A public inquiry has started over the future of a former RAF base in Oxfordshire.

Developers want to build on the Upper Heyford base, near Bicester, which was decommissioned in the mid-1990s.

But English Heritage has said Heyford is the best-preserved Cold War airbase in Britain and should be protected.

The North Oxfordshire Consortium (NOC) which owns Heyford Park, submitted a planning application to Cherwell District Council in December last year.

The council said it was forced to delay a planning decision because NOC added late details, requiring new consultations.

English Heritage will argue that a balance must be struck between the need to build houses and the need to ensure the landscape survives.

During the Cold War Upper Heyford was one of the largest US Air Force bases in Europe.

About 300 former military homes on the site are currently occupied by residents.

NOC plans to demolish the properties to create about 1,000 new homes and provide space for new employment alongside firms already at the site.

In response to objections by English Heritage in 2006, the council altered its planning brief for the site so many of the former Cold War aircraft shelters could be retained.

RAF base delays anger developers
04 Mar 08 |  Oxfordshire
Shelters to stay at ex-RAF base
06 Dec 06 |  Oxfordshire

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