CAMPAIGNERS battling to save Coventry Airport have organised an open day at the venue in Baginton from 10am this Saturday, January 8.
There will be a variety of events taking place, including an informal ‘fly-in’.
The world’s last airworthy ex-RAF Vampire jet will be on display, and tours of the Nimrod and Shackleton aircraft on static display will also be available. Hot food and drinks can be purchased from the ‘Light Apron’ cafe and Coventry Aero Club, the site’s oldest tenants, will be welcoming guests with a free buffet.
Alongside a multitude of aircraft flying in (subject to weather conditions), Flight Simulator Midlands are challenging everyone to take the ‘747 landing challenge’ for just £10.
The campaign was launched after plans were proposed in February last year to build an electric battery-producing ‘gigafactory’ on the site currently occupied by Coventry airport.
That is set to take a large step forwards towards being finalised in a week’s time with a meeting scheduled at Warwick Council next Tuesday, January 11.
Plans submitted in July have earmarked the airport as the preferred location for the 4.5million sq ft gigafactory which would build electric car batteries – endorsed by the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Those behind the plans, including Coventry City Council, Coventry Airport Ltd and the West Midlands Combined Authority, claim the gigafactory is needed to meet the demand of batteries for EV cars and other uses as the nation switches from regular fuel vehicles to forms of transport considered more environmentally friendly.
And they say it would create 6,000 jobs and be powered using 100 per cent green energy through solar, wind and grid supplied renewable power.
Following publication of the official planning application, submitted by the ‘Joint Venture Partners’, many online objections have been received – including Baginton Parish Council, Bubbenhall Parish Council, Royal Mail, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation and the UK CAA Airfield Advisory Team. A further 261 objections were formally submitted from individuals and local residents.
Campaigners argue the airport is still very-much needed and should not be bulldozed to make way for the gigafactory.
They claim there are plenty of other suitable sites to build a centre to create batteries.
Saturday’s event will be a public show of support for the airfield, its enterprise, its community and the campaign to save it.
Pilot Charlotte Bailey, who has been part of the campaign, said: “I believe this open day is a great opportunity for opponents of the planning proposals to get together and show their support for what is an essential asset to our community.”
Steve Clark (director of Aerotech Maintenance Ltd) has previously said: “Closing Coventry Airport does nothing to support the aims and objectives of the NPPF in recognising the importance of our GA network of airfields.
“It would undermine DFT objectives of promoting and boosting the viability of UK General aviation.”
Anyone wanting to attend the open day in aircraft needs to visit egbe-flights.com and fill out a form.
Go to savecoventryairport.co.uk for more on the campaign.