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Friday, 29 June 2012

"These planes need to be kept indoors" says UK aviation hero Peter Valance

In an article by Chris Madden writing in the Surrey Mirror, Peter Valance curator of the Gatwick Aviation Museum states "These planes need to be kept indoors". Fearing they will be destroyed by the elements or an intervention, Mr Valance is pledging to continue the struggle against Mole Valley planning decisions.

(Click image for larger size)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Paul Crysell (inspector) turns down appeal for Gatwick Aviation Museum - loss of National Heritage

Paul Crysell, a planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in the case of Gatwick Aviation Museum versus Mole Valley District Council, has (unfortunately) rejected the museum's appeal.

This is very disappointing news.

You can read Paul Crysell's decision here

The decision is based on 'green belt' status. Yet in other cases, the same Mr Crysell appears to have urged for more, not less, commercial development (specifically new house build) on green belt land. The details are not entirely clear from these past cases, some as recent as 2011, but 'green belt' status has not hindered other large scale commercial development in 'green belt' areas, including several presided over recently by Paul Crysell. As evidence, here are sample links:

Council could be told to build more houses
Green belt to be sacrificed for homes
Parties unite over green belt plans

If I have misunderstood these past cases, I urge Mr Crysell to come forward and put us all straight.

Shall we conclude that the 'green belt issue', in regard to Gatwick Aviation Museum, has been a red herring from the beginning. Are there other (unknown) factors at play in the decisions of Mole Valley Council, and the government inspectorate, in this case?

Now that we are faced with this negative decision which puts the future of the heritage collection at risk, where next for Gatwick Aviation Museum?

The story is sad indeed. The efforts of volunteer citizens, over decades, to preserve the engineering prowess of this nation, are not being heard nor rewarded with recognition.

As we have argued elsewhere in this blog, local council (Mole Valley in this case) should be acting in support of the efforts of volunteers, especially so in this case given its national significance. There is not one instance, to my knowledge, where Mole Valley DC has support the museum, either in voice, moral support, other resources or direct finance. Quite the contrary, the council appear only to have blocked and taken advantage of each and every opportunity to ensure that the museum does not further develop.

Such 'blind spots' to a national treasure appear to be shared with the current conservative government. Our letters to raise the matter to the attention of the Secretary of State for Culture have gone unanswered. Contrast this neglect with the weasel words of the 'Big Society' of David Cameron.

Gatwich Aviation Museum, its activities, collections and restoration efforts and donations to our national heritage are an example of the 'Big Society' at work, yet over years the council have not found it in themselves to support the museum, in words or deeds.

This decision from the planning inspectorate for the final appeal perpetuates the same blind approach of applying rules, over common sense and respect. Such is the state of our nation that such treasures are abandoned.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Please support the planning appeal with all due haste - deadline February 29th

Gatwick Aviation Museum is now appealing against the unfair and unjustified barriers that Mole Valley Council have placed in the way of the volunteer efforts to create a unique heritage museum of historic, National and International significance.

Please support the appeal with all due haste - deadline February 29th

Here is a link to the notice of appeal, which provides the address and instructions for lodging your support for the Museum

You might also be interested to read my previous letter of support to Mole Valley Council and to the Secretary of State for Culture.

My experience is that Mole Valley have not properly entered into correspondence with me, nor with other supporters, and this has required writing additional letters (available in this blog) and the creation of this web site to get their attention. After a short telephone call, they then cut off all further contact with letters not being answered.

Once again, here is the link to the short document which explains how you can support the appeal

This Aviation Museum has a unique collection of British Aircraft from the "golden age" of British aircraft manufacture. From the end of WWII until the 1970's British aircraft designers produced some of the most innovative and advanced aircraft of the day. In this collection there are examples from the major manufacturers of this period.
Amongst the list are classic names, English Electric, Avro, de Havilland, Hawker, Fairey, Blackburn, Percival.