Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Public meeting on stalled Llanbedr airfield revamp

Llanbedr airfield
Plans to reopen Kemble as a working airfield have faced objections

A meeting to "clear the air" about proposals for an airfield on the site of a former RAF base in Gwynedd has been called by community leaders.

Llanbedr Community Council said there was local and political support for plans for Llanbedr airfield to reopen.

The Snowdonia Society has objected to proposals about the site.

Meirionnydd Nant Conwy MP Elfyn Llwyd MP is to chair the meeting, which includes AM Dafydd Elis Thomas and Snowdonia Society director Alun Pugh.

Kemble Air Services Ltd, which runs Cotswold Airport, Cotswold Airport, at Cirencester, Gloucestershire, is the preferred developer for the airfield, near Harlech, which closed in 2004.

But the Snowdonia Society has argued that a commercial airfield would go against the key aims of the national park in which it sits to protect the landscape and give enjoyment to the public.

The community council said local people were keen to see the airfield brought back into use for small private planes and for its buildings to be used by businesses.

We are simply asking that any development respects the statutory purposes for which national parks were created
Alun Pugh, Snowdonia Society

Community council chair Gruffydd Price said: "The meeting is for everybody to put their cards on the table to see what the objections are.

"We want to clear the air and see if we can get progress and anything in motion. Things are stalled at the moment.

"We as a community council, as well as the local people, want to push this ahead. We want to try and get some agreement on how we can find a way forward.

"The last thing we want is for Kemble to pull out. People are not queuing up to buy the airfield here. It's a very specialist thing, running an airfield, and they have the experience.

198 Squadron pilots at Llanbedr during April1944
RAF 198 Squadron pilots at Llanbedr in 1944 Photo: Courtesy of 198 Squadron Archives

"We want to make it clear the strength of support there is locally and politically."

Mr Pugh said the society welcomed the public meeting as an opportunity to discuss "future options for this very important site".

He said: "We would like more jobs being created in the area. This site is clearly crucial to the economic development of the Harlech area.

"We are simply asking that any development respects the statutory purposes for which national parks were created."

Llanbedr airfield opened in 1938, just before the start of the World War II as a military facility.

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