Former RAF airbase plans take flight

RAF Church Fenton.

RAF Church Fenton.

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A businessman plans to open a fixed-wing and helicopter training school for private and commercial pilots after buying a former RAF base near Tadcaster from the Ministry of Defence.

Chris Makin, of Makin Enterprises, will use the former RAF Church Fenton base for private and business aviation as well as the training centre.

The base, which was one of the country’s most important airfields during the second world war, will create 100 new jobs within the next five years.

A fly-in, featuring more than 250 light aircraft, marked the official handover on Sunday, January 4.

Mr Makin said: “I’m passionate about aviation and keen to return this historic site to its full operational glory.

“We’ve received overwhelming support from the community and had incredible interest from people wanting to base their planes in hangars at Church Fenton.

“This airfield has unlimited potential for growth and suited developments, from commercial storage to business aviation.

“With fantastic rail links and sound geographical placement we will soon offer an outstanding gateway to visitors to the region.”

Mr Makin bought the site with the help of national property consultancy Carter Jonas.

David Aspland, Carter Jonas’ head of commercial in Leeds, said: “Together with Makin Enterprises, we will work with the local community and planners to fully embrace the site’s flying history, while developing additional uses to ensure its healthy future.”