THE new owners of Alconbury Airfield, Urban & Civic who bought the former airfield in November, have now applied for longer term planning permission for the businesses trading there.

THE new owners of Alconbury Airfield, Urban & Civic who bought the former airfield in November, have now applied for longer term planning permission for the businesses trading there. However no major development plans on the site have yet been drawn up.

As reported by The Hunts Post in November, the site was bought in a £27.5million deal by Urban & Civic, a company founded by property magnates Nigel Hugill and Robin Butler. The purchase did not include the RAF base.

The deal was said at the time to have killed off plans for a rail freight terminal and a mini-city on the site

The company said at the time that the long-term future of the airfield should be established as a partnership with Huntingdonshire District Council and other stakeholders.

This week, managing director, Robin Butler told The Hunts Post: "We have put in two renewal applications for planning permissions. There is a series of businesses on the site, employing up to 1,000 people but they have planning applications that have to be renewed annually.

"We are looking for permission lasting three years so that we can invest in infrastructure for those businesses."

Mr Butler said currently many of the businesses were working off pooled supplies of electricity and water, for example, instead of their own individual supplies.

He said: "There is a real mixture of businesses, including storage for building materials, a logistic store keeping items between their being imported and delivered to the customer, and the police have a dog training centre there. Because the planning permission is renewed annually it makes proper investment difficult."

Urban Civic is also seeking renewal of planning permission for a rail connection from the airfield to the East Coast main line, with a view to carrying passengers as well as freight.

The previously granted permission - in 2003 - is about to expire and Urban Civic says it wants to keep its options open.

Mr Butler said: "We are evaluating all our different options. Rail is one possibility, not only for freight but possibly also for a passenger network."