Following refusals for change of use at the GAMA (GLCM Alert and Maintenance Area) site at the former RAF Greenham Common it has been brought to our attention that Flying A Services Ltd are applying for a certificate of lawfulness based on the fact that they have used all the buildings for storage since 2003.
There are however some problems with this. After inspecting the documents supplied to West Berkshire Council in the form of Statutory Decelerations from a few people quoting “informal” arrangements to store items at GAMA it is clear that this is simply untrue. Whilst Mr Arnold of Flying A Services has clearly managed to get some people who have stored things there over the years to state they have seen things in buildings on their visits (most less than a few times a year) and that every building is in use.
The big problem with that is that it is a blatant lie. The author and associates visit GAMA and Greenham Common at least twice a year and have done for over a decade and on most occasions, with the exception of the occasional couple of crates and the odd container in one or two of the silo’s the rest of the site is empty (except the locked buildings which formed the vehicle garages). The security offices for example next to the gates have been empty on every occasion we visited as have been many of the SILO’s, at most, we have seen 2 in use at any one time. In fact, one has to only watch a certain episode of Top Gear to see how empty most of the buildings are, Clarkson and May managed to drive cars around in them!
So why is this important? GAMA is a scheduled monument and is protected as such to prevent damage. In other words, it is in the Public Interest to protect it However, every opportunity Flying A Services Ltd have had to work with historical preservation options they have refused or demanded unreasonable amounts of money from. Flying A Services Ltd have sought to use the complex for vehicle storage and other types of storage without success but if they can use this legal loophole and prove continued use for over 10 years then they will granted the certificate of lawfulness and have Carte Blanche to store items all over the site which could cause irreparable damage to the scheduled structures.
The fact they Flying A Services haven’t been able to put forward one single formal agreement regarding storage at the site speaks volumes and shows that this very much a group of friends of David Arnold who are prepared to do him a favour, perhaps in return for some storage!
The case is currently under consideration by West Berkshire Council and representations, or your experiences of an empty GAMA can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Case No 15/01369/CERTE