North West Wales

Sale of Llanbedr airfield in Snowdonia welcomed

Llanbedr airfield
Image caption It is hoped transfer of the site will be completed in early 2012

A Gwynedd councillor has welcomed the Welsh government's decision to sell a former military air base in Snowdonia.

It is hoped the transfer of the site at Llanbedr in Meirionnydd will be completed early in 2012.

Purchaser Llanbedr Airfield Estates has previously welcomed the granting of a certificate to use the site to test unmanned aerial vehicles.

Councillor Evie Morgan Jones, who represents Llanbedr, said the sale had been "a long time coming".

Welcoming a decision by Business Minister Edwina Hart, Ms Morgan Jones said: "It has been a long time coming, and we hope now that the legal issues of transferring the site to the 125-year-long leasehold can move swiftly.

"We are keen to attract new jobs to the area, ensuring that our young people remain in the area to live, work, settle down and raise children.

"We have been assured by Llanbedr Airfield Estates that they are totally committed to the project and that their overriding principle remains the economic regeneration of the area and securing new jobs."

The site at Llanbedr employed 130 people at the time it was closed in 2004.

Llanbedr Airfield Estates (LAE) had wanted to use the land for private flights and let empty buildings for business use.

Its 2009 application for a certificate of lawful use was refused by the Snowdonia National Park Authority as planning authority for the area.

However, in December 2010, the Welsh government then applied, as ministers became the freeholders of the site in 2006 when they took over the old Welsh Development Agency.

In August, the Welsh government was granted a certificate of lawful use, enabling the site to be used to test and develop unmanned aerial vehicles.

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