OLD Sarum Airfield bosses say they will have "no choice" but to increase the number of flights – including night flights – at its base if tomorrow's judicial review does not overturn a decision to build 460 homes on its land.

This, they say, is down to the current commercial operating model not providing "long term economic viability" due to a claimed deal made with Wiltshire Council to keep flight numbers down – in return for "substantial subsidies". This deal has never been confirmed by the council.

It comes after a planning inspector dismissed an appeal from the airfield over refused proposals submitted in 2015, which would've seen the new estate built next to the airbase on land previously earmarked by the county authority as a significant development for housing.

The judicial review, which starts tomorrow, will determine if the inspector’s decision was lawful or not.

A spokesperson for Old Sarum Airfield said: “Under the current commercial operating model, if the development is not permitted, we will have no choice but to increase operations at the airfield in order for it to provide long term economic viability which was surrendered in 2007 as a result of the council’s request.

"Recouping the substantial losses will mean increasing fixed, rotary and training operations including night flying."

The Airfield which was established in 1917 has recently been operating as a private airfield.

The spokesperson added: "Our hope is that the judicial review will permit a way to be identified to allow the development to go ahead which will not only create much-needed new homes in accordance with the core strategy but will help to safeguard the Airfield’s future as a quiet heritage amenity.

“The Airfield is part of the community.

"We employ local people and welcome visitors from Salisbury, Wiltshire and across the UK.

"We hope we can continue to operate at a moderate level without the need for increasing the types and volume of air traffic in the future.”