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Fears for museum after new MoD claim
1:10pm Friday 7th September 2012 in News
CONCERNS have been raised over the future of a museum plan for RAF Bicester after defence chiefs said the site could be used for homes.
Cherwell District Council (CDC) has criticised the Ministry of Defence, which is selling the site, for suggesting it could take housing.
The claim appears in a marketing brochure put out by the MoD after announcing it was putting the site up for sale in June.
The brochure says a 2009 council planning brief supports housing, and that “other uses considered are conversion to employment or residential use”.
But the council said the MoD was giving a “false impression” as CDC would not give permission for homes and instead backs the museum plan.
Lead member for planning Michael Gibbard said: “We are concerned that the information currently being circulated will give possible bidders a false impression.”
He said: “There is absolutely no scope for housing.”
If CDC was to reject an application for housing, any developer would be able to appeal.
A successful appeal would then scupper plans for a museum and education centre to honour the site’s wartime history.
Campaign group Bomber Heritage Command has won the council’s support for the museum plan at the base, redundant since 2004.
Group chairman Brian Overton said: “There is always a risk.
“The trouble is the council refuse planning permission for houses but if they take it to appeal, who knows?
“It would be the last remaining opportunity of telling the story of Bomber Command.
“That would be a great loss to the nation.”
The council said the brief makes clear housing is not supported for the site, off Skimmingdish Lane.
Asked to respond to the allegation that the brochure was “giving a false impression”, the MoD said: “The MoD will continue to liaise with Cherwell District Council with regards to the future of the site.”