Anyone with an interest in the former RAF airfield at Tempsford in Bedfordshire - and in particular with the operations flown from there by No. 138 and No. 161 Special Duties Squadrons - may have been alarmed to see recent coverage in local and tabloid publications, and also via social media and on web sites.
Much of this has been inaccurate and misleading, although some has been well-intentioned, and so by way of clarification and reassurance the following statement has just been issued by the Tempsford Veterans & Relatives Association (TVARA) in consultation with the owner of the site, Lady Erroll -
"Many of you will have heard that there are plans to develop the area around Tempsford/Everton for housing and light industrial use, and that the airfield forms part of these plans.
"Understandably, there is concern among our members as to what this might involve for the future of the Barn and the airfield. There are no plans to sell the Barn – in fact, the opposite is true. It is a Grade 2 listed building - “listed for its historic interest and as a memorial to the Special Operations Executive agents who were kitted out from this barn before flying from the adjacent runway to missions in occupied Europe” * - and Lady Erroll wishes to place it in a charitable trust, with family members standing as trustees, so that her family will be able to maintain control over what happens to it.
"There is also a possibility that some members of the families of those who served might also be invited to be trustees. Some further ideas include placing a “Nissen” hut back on the site – there used to be some to the left of the barn as you look at it – and, possibly, to rebuild the farm house, with a view to using it as a visitor centre.
"As far as the above ideas are concerned – no planning permission has, as yet, been sought; once this is under way, a Charette meeting would be called so that affected parties might put forward ideas for consideration; the Charette will be held in advance of any planning application being submitted.
"Overall, the aim is to raise awareness of the historical importance of the site, and promote easier visiting and education. We understand that a professional historian who specialises in SOE and SIS etc has already met the planners and will be continuing to work with Lady Erroll."