Campaign launched to save water tower

Heyford Park water tower in the sunset. PNL-160922-125452001

Heyford Park water tower in the sunset. PNL-160922-125452001

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A fight to save an historic water tower which has become a habitat for wildlife has been launched.

The water tower, which is at RAF Upper Heyford, is to be demolished as part of a development of 2,600 homes called Heyford Park.

The tower was built in the 1950s for the RAF/USAF airbase and has become a focal point.

Sharon Keen has a launched a petition to save the water tower which has so far attracted more than 7,000 of the 10,000 signatures target. The petition can be found at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/619/293/078/save-our-water-tower/?taf_id=28969794&cid=fb_na.

Mrs Keen said: “It is an iconic tower and there are birds of prey that nest and roost up there. It is on the flight path for bats.”

She added many historic buildings on the site were being replaced by the homes while hedges and trees used by other wildlife were also being removed.

“The petition is about trying to protect the wildlife of the area and also protect the local history. You can see the tower from miles away and from the M40.”

She added Dorchester Living had investigated saving the water tower and putting a fighter plane on top of it as a feature, but nothing had come about.

It is hoped the petition will encourage the developers, which also includes Bovis Homes, to enter into discussions with campaigners to look at ways of saving the tower.

A spokesperson for Heyford Park said the site’s historical buildings were being appraised so buildings with a significant historical value were retained while those that weren’t of value would be approved for demolition.

She added: “The water tower is clearly an emotive issue, especially for former US servicemen who once lived on the base, many of whom have signed the petition. On the flip side, it was also a landmark that, during our consultations with local community groups, many were keen to see removed.

“This is because, like the hundreds of other water towers from that era, it no longer serves a practical purpose and dominates an otherwise picturesque landscape for those living in the surrounds as well as those looking out from Rousham House and Park, whose history predates the airbase.”