Distress as iconic hangar is demolished

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A POPULAR landmark has been demolished as part of a multi-million pound development.

One of two Lamella domed hangars at the former RAF Sealand base was torn down yesterday as work to clear the site to make way for the Northern Gateway project continues.

Sealand councillor Christine Jones said she had been inundated with calls after cranes were seen near the building.

She said: “A lot of people thought the building might be ‘listed’, but it is not.

“Everybody is distraught. It would have been preferable to include it in the development but it is taking up too much space and land.

“I know you can’t stop progress, but it is sad to see another part of history gone. It is amazing inside and it is a huge building.”

The hangar was built in February 1939. Cllr Jones said: “RAF Sealand was one of the most important bases in the country.

“It is going to look so strange without the hangar. It is a real landmark, when I was little it used to be covered in grass for camouflage.”

RAF Sealand was opened in 1917, a year before the Royal Air Force was set up, and the site was bought by the Air Flying Corps which later became the RAF.

It played an important role during both world wars and became an electronic repair facility, where specialist engineers worked on radar and fibre optic equipment. At its height it employed more than 4,000 people. The site was shut in 2006.

Andy Roberts, planning and environmental strategy manager at Flintshire Council, said: “Prior notice of demolition has been properly served on the council some time ago and none of the buildings identified as part of that notice are listed or protected by any other form of designation.

“There are three listed hangars to the north of this site that are not affected by this proposal.

“While it is clearly acknowledged by the council that there are nostalgic associations for many people with these buildings, it is also time to look forward to the significant opportunities that are presented by the imminent development of the Northern Gateway site.”

Demolition work to clear the old RAF Sealand east site to make way for the massive 400-acre development is well advanced.

The project will take up to 15 years to complete and is expected to include 650 houses, office, warehousing and general work space, and could create thousands of jobs.

See full story in the Leader

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