A campaign has begun to retain one of the last buildings from the former Woodley Aerodrome after an application was submitted to redevelop it for an industrial scheme.

The art deco former Phillips and Powis Aircraft (later Adwest) building in Headley Road East, has become the centre of a campaign to retain at least its frontage and give it a community use.

The late 1930s building was designed by Guy Morgan & Partners and was used to make Miles Aircraft.

But under Goya Developments’ plans, submitted to Wokingham Borough Council in September, it will be demolished and replaced with a 10-unit industrial scheme which would extend to a further plot of land in Viscount Way at the rear.

By last Friday’s deadline for comments, more than 200 objections had been lodged against proposals for the site which totals 3.06 hectares.

Wokingham Borough councillor for Bulmershe and Whitegates Cllr Shirley Boyt said she was surprised to find the council had not consulted Berkshire Museum of Aviation, housed in the only other remaining building from the aerodrome, about the plan and not requested a heritage impact assessment.

She added: “All over the country there were probably hundreds of these buildings but, one by one, they’ve all gone. This could be one of the last vestiges of that golden age of aviation.”

Julian Temple, historian of the site and author of Wings Over Woodley, is one of the objectors and is seeking to have the building listed.

In his objection he states: “There are very few comparable HQ office buildings for major aircraft manufacturers and of this quality surviving in Britain today and its rarity, history and association with the respected architects Guy Morgan & Partners make the case for its retention particularly compelling.

“Morgan’s inclusion of tool room and machine shop space on building’s the ground floor is also an unusual, and possibly unique, feature.”

Cllr Boyt said if it hadn’t been for the heritage issue, the application would have faced little objection although housing developments have been built close by which she says should never have been allowed.

She believes if the listing application is to be considered by Historic England, it will delay the proposed redevelopment.

She added: “Once the application for listing goes in, the next thing I will do is go out to residents and say ‘ok Woodley, if we can get this building saved, what would be a good use for it?’.

“Obviously it could be a type of art centre or a museum or something like that but it’s a case of how viable that may be.”

She believes a possibility is to use it for small design or tech companies with possible public exhibition space.

Goya Developments has told Thames Tap a formal heritage statement is now being prepared as part of the application following the concerns raised.

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