By Pam Marsden
MEMBERS of Daedalus Aviation & Heritage Group were privileged to hear a bespoke talk by Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Sean Woodward, on Solent Airport at Daedalus, taking us from its history to the present day and its vision for the future.
Mr Woodward demonstrated how the council had delivered this without cost to the taxpayer, noting all the benefits to residents this ongoing project has provided.
It was the Navy’s seaplane training school in 1917, pre-dating the RAF, eventually becoming HMS Daedalus and we were reminded that on D-Day it was the busiest airfield in the country.
It closed in 1996 falling into disrepair and it could well have been destined for gravel extraction and housing. Fareham Borough Council, he said, thankfully had a vision for a new direction supporting general aviation which has been most successful with Solent Airport now a vibrant and sustainable airfield.
This site now includes aerospace, aviation, marine, and an advanced engineering hub along with others including CEMAST college, CETC and the Fareham Innovation Centre.
It all provides skilled and well-paid employment for local people.
The new aviation hub has increased flights by 30 percent in three years with flight movements to reach 36,000 this year, plus the airport has recently opened the popular Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Park.
Mr Woodward said: “We have worked hard to encourage general aviation and businesses to the site which supports jobs and the local community – they are all very important to us.”
“In addition, we are working with the popular Spitfires.com to increase their presence at Solent Airport.”
“It was fascinating to hear of the Solent Airport vision and we are grateful to Councillor Woodward for joining us with his interesting presentation.”
PICTURED BY PAM MARSDEN: Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council Councillor Sean Woodward, left, with Chair of Daedalus Aviation & Heritage Group Terry Coombes.