Ex-RAF station near Preston could take off again as an employment village
RAF Barton Hall, north of Broughton, has been earmarked for a development of 38 employment units in a planning application submitted to the city council.
Barton Hall was requisitioned by the RAF in 1939 and continued to be used as the North's Air Traffic Control Centre until 1975 when operations were switched to Manchester Airport. It then became a government-run animal health centre until that closed in 2016/17.
The secluded site's current occupiers, Midas Land Ltd, want to bulldoze many of the buildings on the land and construct six single storey blocks of business units ideal for small or start-up companies.
The plan is to retain part of the current main office building - constructed in the 1980s - to be used as a communal hub, with additional office accommodation, meeting rooms and break-out spaces.
Midas Land, which only occupies a section of the main building, says it intends to switch to a purpose-built office block on the south of the site, subject to a separate planning application.
Most of the buildings were constructed for use by DEFRA along with the large office complex in the centre of the site which Midas says is too big for their needs.
"This scale of facility is not required to support the applicant's operations alone and, as such, they seek to redevelop the site so as to make the best and most effective use of the land," says a planning statement to the council from the Cassidy and Ashton Group on behalf of Midas.
"As a result of the (proposed) development the land would remain in commercial use, providing a range of starter units for local businesses.
"It is intended that a separate outline planning application will be made for a bespoke office building on the site to accommodate the applicant's own operation."
The report says the business park would "give rise to multiple planning benefits, including economic investment and job creation."
The report goes on: "The development proposals seek to enhance the efficiency of the Barton Hall site, making more effective use of the land's availability and therefore promoting the local area's prosperity through the creation of a small business park"
The new units are intended to be used for offices, studios, workshops, or storage facilities. The aim is to create a "prosperous employment village/business park which enable new businesses to establish themselves and develop."