THE roof of a listed hangar has partially collapsed at Old Sarum Airfield.

The Grade II listed hangar was placed on the Heritage At Risk Register in November 2020.

Historic England has expressed its "disappointment" over the collapse and is currently working with the owners to assess the damage and implement emergency works.

Assessing the damage

A Historic England spokesperson said: “We are very disappointed to see that there has been a collapse of the roof at the Grade II* listed Hangar at Old Sarum Airfield in Salisbury."

It said since the hangar was added to the at risk register it has been working with Wiltshire Council and the owner "to assess the condition of the building and push for emergency works". Adding that in recent months "progress was made but the roof collapsed before the works were agreed and actioned".

 “We are now working urgently with the owner to assess the damage and implement emergency works to resist further collapse and salvage the remains of the important Belfast roof structure. We will continue to provide specialist advice, including advice from our structural engineers, over the coming weeks," Historic England added. 

Last month, the directors of Old Sarum Airfield Ltd said it would be releasing revised plans for developing the airfield site.

The new proposals, they said, would “ensure the landmark heritage site will be restored and its long-term future secured” but also “take into considerations” the views of the planning inspector, Historic England and Mr Justice Knowles who gave a ruling in a High Court Appeal.

Old Sarum Airfield lost an appeal in 2020 against the refusal of planning permission.

The request for the review was submitted after an application was refused to build 462 homes and create a “flying hub”, complete with a heritage centre, visitor centre, restaurant, and new control tower.

'Custodians' of airfield

A spokesperson for Old Sarum Airfield said: “As custodians of Old Sarum Airfield, we have always taken the responsibilities of the listed building very seriously. We have spent considerable sums over the years trying to secure the structure and have prevented major structural damage.

"Historic England (HE) surveyed the building in August 2021 and provided us with a copy of the report in May 2022. We are working with HE to devise a plan to protect the areas they have identified at risk but regrettably this partial collapse has occurred in the meantime. We will be meeting HE on site to agree a plan to continue to secure the building.”

'Great concern'

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “We note with great concern the damage that has occurred to the historic hangar, the state of the building has been previously raised with the owner and we would expect that it would have been properly maintained. The property is privately owned and the responsibility to maintain the building lies with the owner.

“We understand a site meeting is scheduled to take place between Historic England’s structural engineer and the site owner’s agent to assess the condition of the building, and the potential for works to stop any further decay and restore the building to its original state.

“We intend to meet with Historic England to discuss our options once their engineer’s report has been received, we take this matter extremely seriously, the preservation of our historic heritage is of great importance.”

'Systems to protect heritage'

Annie Riddle, of Save Old Sarum (SOS), said: “Save Old Sarum has been warning the authorities about the impending collapse for a long, long time. I know John Glen also asked to be kept updated on progress, after visiting the site with me and other campaigners two years ago.

"Historic England did finally conduct a survey last winter and they are about to send in another engineer, whose report will be shared with the owners and Wiltshire Council. Then they say the owners will have to send in their own engineer and arrange tenders for salvage work. And if that doesn't happen, Wiltshire Council will have to 'consider issuing' an Urgent Works Notice, sending in yet another engineer to specify and oversee any necessary work. How long will all this take?

"There doesn't seem to have been any sense of urgency at any point in this depressing process. It doesn’t appear that the system to protect our heritage is working.”