Campaign to restore Tangmere’s ‘iconic’ airfield control tower

The control tower at the former RAF base is on the heritage at risk register after falling into disrepair. Photo provided by Chichester District Council. SUS-171031-164159001
The control tower at the former RAF base is on the heritage at risk register after falling into disrepair. Photo provided by Chichester District Council. SUS-171031-164159001

Tangmere residents are launching a bid to restore an ‘iconic’ historic airfield control tower through Heritage Lottery funding.

Listed on the Heritage at Risk register, the tower is one of the last remaining structures from the site’s use as an RAF base during the Second World War.

Tangmere parish councillor Matt Gover-Wren SUS-171031-164555001

Tangmere parish councillor Matt Gover-Wren SUS-171031-164555001

Parish councillor Matt Gover-Wren has started a social media campaign for the restoration idea and said the response so far had been ‘humbling’, with many people sharing memories.

He said: “For me personally, it’s the most iconic feature in the village and it’s just been left since 1970.

“I’ve walked past and I’m sure other people have walked past it and they’ve thought, this is awful, something needs to be done about it.

“It was built in 1944, it had a role in the Battle of Britain and the airspeed record, Prince Charles took his first flight class from the tower.

“It’s the very heart of the village, it’s the symbol of Tangmere.

“If we can turn it into something fantastic and great, I think people’s children and grandchildren will know where they live, they’ll know about Tangmere and that’s really important.”

He said anyone who wanted to support the project should contact their district councillor.

So far, a preliminary submission for heritage lottery funding, which requires an educational element, has received support from Tangmere Aviation Museum, Tangmere Local History Group and the University of Chichester.

The university comments said the tower ‘provides a hugely important educational space’ for understanding the ‘national and international significance’ of the area during the war.

Ideas for community use include a learning space, an archive centre, a community café or meeting point and a recreation of the control room with maps of what the airfield would have looked like.

Follow the campaign online @TangmereTower.