A row over efforts to repair or restore hangars at former First and Second World War airfield Hooton Park, near Vauxhall Motors, has erupted between Hooton Park Trust (HPT) and 610 Squadron Association, containing veterans of the Battle of Britain. CLAIRE DEVINE reports
AN MP is urging two groups at loggerheads over historic war hangars to look to the future and resolve their differences.
Hooton Park Trust (HPT) was formed in 2000 to oversee and manage the restoration of the war hangars, now Grade II listed, on the former RAF airfield at Hooton Park, near Vauxhall Motors.
The park is home to three Belfast Truss hangars, built in 1917.
HPT and 610 Squadron Association, containing Battle of Britain veterans, are in conflict over efforts made to repair or restore the hangars and 610 has since been expelled from the site for failing to ‘comply with site rules’.
Ellesmere Port and Neston Labour MP Andrew Miller said: “It is very sad to hear of the dispute.
“I helped broker the deal between Hooton Park Trust and Vauxhall to rescue the hangars in the first instance.
“I am becoming increasingly nervous that if something isn’t done then things will grind to a halt.
“It is sad the two groups are having difficulty working together and it would be a pity if 610 is not involved given its historical relevance.
“I feel it has come to a point where everyone needs to stop focusing on what might have happened in the past and focus on what can be achieved in the future or the whole site will fall apart.
“I feel we have a window of two to three years where something structural has to be done or we run the risk of losing the lot.”
He added: “The listing status is for the whole complex, not just the buildings involved.
“If work isn’t done and the listing is lost then many avenues of financial support are also lost.
“I would urge all parties to find a way of working together.
“If people or groups are excluded from the site it won’t bode well with the Lottery Commission.
“Both groups need each other.
“I strongly believe 610 need to be involved and possibly other organisations who have a historic role.
“The longer the dispute goes on the more difficult it will be to convince external funders to back them.”