WALES: For Sale: Old Airfield Ideal for Spy Planes; UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE MOD SITE
Byline: By ERYL CRUMP
FOR Sale: one historic airfield on the North Wales coast near to all amenities including Cardigan Bay and the mountains of Snowdonia.
But any developer hoping to cash in and build a huge new holiday complex on Llanbedr Airfield, near Harlech, will be thwarted.
The 563-acre complex, which has three runways and a range of hangars and workshops, must be used as a commercial airfield.
It could be used to test spy drones, as four years ago two military aircraft makers were reported to be interested in the site to develop new spy planes.
American aerospace giant Boeing and an un-named overseas defence company both wanted to lease the airfield and may still be interested in the site.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, used either for reconnaissance or as test targets, are seen as an important feature of air forces.
The US Air Force already uses a large number of UAVs, and a missile from a remote-controlled spy plane may have killed a leader of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network in Afghanistan five years ago.
Property agent Stuart Hogg, who is handling the sale of a 125-year lease on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government, said: "This is an unique opportunity to acquire a former MOD airfield for operation as a commercial airfield and ancillary commercial uses.
"It will be a requirement that the purchaser operates the property as a commercial airfield, with other ancillary commercial uses being permitted.
"The property will, therefore, be offered for sale by way of a 125 year-long leasehold interest with covenants to ensure the required uses are complied with.
"It will be a condition that unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flying is accommodated at the site and it is likely that one of the buildings will be identified to be made available on commercial terms for UAV operators requiring premises for campaign testing and research and development activities."
Meirionnydd Nant Conwy MP Elfyn Llwyd said: "I am happy the airfield site is being offered for sale. Maintenance of the site is being carried out but there is a need to make use of it for the benefit of the local economy."
An Assembly spokesman refused to speculate on the price the site could attract. …