This land should not be a car park

12:20pm Wednesday 9th July 2014

LAST month we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

For ‘Operation Tonga’, the main airborne invasion, Albemarle bombers were provided by 42 OTU squadron from RAF Asbourne. A few weeks earlier, while training for this operation, Albemarle V1609 crashed on to Grange Farm, Hartford, and four of the five aircrew lost their lives.

The site of the crash is well documented, and eye witnesses are still able to recount the tragedy of that day in April 1944.

Having been informed of the crash site, the housing developers for Grange Farm were required to apply for a licence to disturb the area from the Ministry of Defence. In order to facilitate this they had to commission an archaeology report from a specialist company.

In the event, this specialist company misidentified the crash site and placed it outside the development area. It was expected that the Ministry of Defence would refuse the application on being supplied with the correct information.

For some reason this evidence was ignored and a licence issued. Cheshire West and Chester Council were asked to support the objection, but chose to accept the incorrectly arrived at decision.

So, in the month that commemorates the D-Day landings, the area in which four young men died preparing for the invasion of Europe, is destined to become a car park on a housing development.

I write this because, like me, the people of Hartford, wish to disassociate themselves from this disgrace.

Shame on the developers, shame on the MoD, and shame on Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Phil Herbert

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