Former WWII airbase earmarked for business hub

The site of a former wartime airbase and subsequent truck-stop has been earmarked to be demolished and turned into a business park — but plans will include a nod to its history.

The former Second World War airbase RAF Coleby Grange, at Nocton Heath, was once home to one of the country’s Thor missile bases.

After its release from military use in 1963, it became a truck-stop and later grew to include a bunkhouse, café, hot food takeaway and commercial kitchens.

Now, applicant Stirlin Developments, wants to clear the 0.92 acre site and build eight 1,000-plus square foot business units with a central car park on 0.61 acres of it.

However, the scheme will also include signage and display boards to provide information on the history of former RAF Coleby Grange.

How the developer plans to layout the site (in red), with the site of potential houses in blue.

In documents submitted to North Kesteven District Council, the applicant says the current building has become unused and ‘is in danger of becoming derelict’.

The documents say: “Despite the number of people travelling back and forth past the site each day,  viability for use as a roadside café and hot-food takeaway has diminished year on year.

“The most desirable and successful locations for roadside eating establishments in the 21st Century economy  at major highway intersections.

“The other use of a roadside café site as a convenient toilet stop is also no longer relevant for Nocton Heath, as it is not far enough from either Sleaford or Lincoln to be regularly required for this purpose.”

The application says the site has ‘potential economic benefit’ as a ‘sustainable employment location for the population of the four surrounding parishes’ — these being Boothby Graffoe, Coleby, Metheringham and Dunston.

It adds the site ‘would offer the opportunity for businesses to enjoy excellent visibility to customers and access to markets’.

The existing layout of the site.

The interpretation scheme follows discussions with Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire who, according to the documents, pointed out that RAF Coleby Grange is one of the few former airbases in the county without any form of visitor facility or interpretation area.

“Stirlin Developments would propose to address this by including a small interpretation area with display boards within the site as part of our development proposals,” says the document.

The document also hints at replacing of the bunkhouse by utilising the rest of the cleared area for residential purposes, however, this is not on the plans submitted.

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