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Shapps opposed building on airfield where he kept plane

  • 17/12/2013
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The former housing minister Grant Shapps attempted to prevent homes being built on an airfield where he kept a plane, it has emerged.

The Welwyn Hatfield MP has publicly opposed plans by the Welwyn Hatfield council to build 700 homes on the Panshanger airfield. According to the Guardian, this is also the airfield where he keeps his £100,000 Piper Saratoga plane.

Speaking to local paper Welwyn Hatfield Times in November last year, Shapps said residents had expressed concern about the decision to build on the airfield. He described it as a “community asset that can never be replaced” and a “valuable educational resource”.

However, the report failed to mention the Tory MP also kept his own plane there. 

Shapps, who served as the coalition’s housing minister between 2010 and 2012, is a keen pilot. In 2010, he flew from Panshager to Swansea to participate in an episode of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions.

Mortgage Solutions contacted Shapps for comment, but at time of publishing had received no reply.

Welwyn Hatfield council rejected the argument to keep the airfield. It said: “The airfield site is not considered to meet the criteria for conservation area designation. It has become fragmented over time and … is not of special architectural or historic interest.”

On Monday, Labour leader Ed Miliband said a Labour government would take steps to prevent one council’s planning ambitions being thwarted by political resistance in neighbouring jurisdictions. 

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