Concerns have been raised about the future of Cardington Sheds after one of them has been purchased by a building developer.
The sheds (or hangars to some) are protected as Grade II-listed buildings but the building and surrounding land has now been purchased by Gallagher Developments for £10.5million.
While the sheds are protected, the land around them is not. Local campaigner, Trevor Monk, who runs the We Love Cardington Sheds Facebook page says he’s now concerned that building around the sheds could put their legacy under threat: “My main concern is the possibility of further development over what has already been accepted on the remaining airfield.
“If the council stick to their own rules the remaining airfield should be protected but it is a worry that won’t go away until Gallaghers state their future intentions with the site.”
Gallaghers have previously applied for planning permission to build 600 homes on land around the sheds but as yet haven’t commented on what the purchase of shed 1 may mean for their future plans.
“If the remaining airfield is built on it will mean no more airships at Cardington in the future” adds Trevor “and the removal of an amazing view of these awe inspiring listed structures it also removes a possible future money making use for these grand old Bedfordian icons.”
A spokesperson for Bedford Borough Council said: “There is no specific protected designation of the surrounding land. However, applications which are considered to affect the setting of the hangars will be considered against local and national policy and specific heritage protection policies would apply.”
Trevor also believes that even if they’re no longer used for their original purpose, something needs to be done to secure their legacy. “They [Gallaghers] have to understand the structures they have there are well loved by many of the local community, they are far from just another warehouse or distribution centre. a facility their to tell their story to visitors to the site will be a benefit to them to, an asset.”
Shed 1 was opened in 1917 and used to house the R101 Airship which crashed in 1930 after taking off from the Cardington airfield. It was most recently home to Hyrbid Air Vehicles who used the shed to house their Airlander 10 airship, the world’s longest aircraft.
Shed 2 is home to Cardington Studios, a film and TV production studio which has provided space for many famous films such as Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Inception. Music acts such as Take That, One Direction and Kanye West have also used the stage to practice their acts or test stage equipment.
Gallaghers have been approached for comment but as yet have not responded.