14 July 1995

MoDdenies plans to sell airfield to stock export firm

By Liz Mason

MINISTRY of Defence officials have denied Pan European Airways claims that it is involved in direct talks to buy a Bedford airfield.

Bedford planners have also dismissed the companys claims that its proposals for the Thurleigh airfield are supported by the local planning authority.

The company, which plans to export livestock, is offering farmers £1 shares in 1000 blocks.

Martin Daniels, PEA chairman told FARMERS WEEKLY that the company had held discussions with the MoD over the purchase of the Thurleigh site. "The MoD are quite happy talking to us about it," he said.

But in response to a written question armed forces minister Nicholas Soames said the MoD "has entered into no agreement for the export of livestock from Thurleigh airfield nor have we been asked to enter into such an agreement".

An MoD spokesperson said the company had made a number of untrue claims that it was negotiating with the MoD to buy all sorts of airfields. "They have done this once too often… claimed they been negotiating with us and they have not," she said.

"At the moment the local authority is preparing a planning brief and we will be looking for expressions of interest towards the end of the summer."

Bedford Borough Council planner David Bailey said he had met Mr Daniels once for a preliminary discussion. Mr Daniels was asked to submit further details of his proposals but had not done so.

He said the planning authority had not expressed support for his plans.

Mr Daniels insisted planners supported the use of Thurleigh as an airfield. But he was looking at other sites.

"We are keeping negotiations going for them all," he said. But no deal could be finalised until it had closed its share offer.