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Chalgrove Airfield

Volume 656: debated on Wednesday 28 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for Air if the agreement with Martin Baker Aircraft, Ltd., in respect of Chalgrove Airfield, has yet been signed.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I raised the matter two years ago, on 31st March, 1960, and that on 8th December, 1960, I was informed by the Under-Secretary of State that only one or two matters of small detail remained to be settled? May I know what those points of detail are? Furthermore, does the original assurance still stand, that the land will be offered back to the original owners as agricultural land at current market price when the company ceases to have use for it for its present purpose?

A public local inquiry was held by the War Works Commission in February of this year. The firm, not unnaturally, wants to await the result of the inquiry before it signs the agreement and before everything is finally settled.

With regard to my hon. Friend's second point, I understand that the firm has made it clear that it would give a first option to the original owners—I think that is the position—if it terminated its lease.

Might I press my right hon. Friend to be a little clearer about this? Will he reassure me and the House that when the company ceases to wish to use the airfield for the purpose of testing ejector seats it will then offer the land back to the original owners as agricultural land at current prices in accordance with the undertaking originally given?